Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Schirmer, Sarah

Committee Member

Adelstein, Katharine

Author's Keywords

progressive muscle relaxation; cancer patients; depression; anxiety; distress


Background: People affected by cancer often experience psychological distress that ultimately decreases their health, adherence to treatment, overall well-being, and quality of life. Research has shown that MBIs can reduce psychological distress, depression, and anxiety and increase quality of life. A needs assessment conducted within a local cancer support organization, Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana, has expressed the need for providing a more comprehensive range of accessible MBIs in their programming to meet their psychosocial goals by reducing psychological distress in their members. PMR is an MBI not currently used by GCK that has been proven effective at reducing anxiety, depression, and psychological distress. It is easy to deliver and can be practiced by members outside of sessions, making it an easily accessible MBI intervention.

Setting: The project will take place at a cancer support institution, Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana, located in West Louisville, KY.

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to implement a new MBI program at Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana to help meet organizational psychosocial goals, improve Gilda’s Club members’ access to mental health interventions, and decrease psychological distress in members.

Procedures: Members registered for the programming will meet for one PMR session once a week for four weeks. Sessions will involve a pre-test distress screening, an explanation of PMR by the DNP student, a PMR group session, and a post-test distress screening.

Measures: Outcomes measured in this project are psychological distress, as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder screening (GAD-7), and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer tool (NCCN DT).

Keywords: progressive muscle relaxation, cancer patients, depression, anxiety, distress

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