University of California
Los Angeles, California
Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology
Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Member, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Senior Research Scientist, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology
Developing evidence-based approaches to promote the psychological, social, and physical health of women living with breast cancer.
While no two women will experience the diagnosis and treatment for their breast cancer in exactly the same way, there are certain emotional and physical challenges that many share, such as adhering to endocrine therapy and managing depression and anxiety. In addition, African American women who have breast cancer face specific challenges that have a negative effect on their quality of life. Dr. Stanton is developing and testing interventions that address these issues to improve both breast cancer outcomes and the quality of life for patients.
The overarching goal of Dr. Stanton’s research is to understand and develop methods to improve survivorship for patients with breast cancer. She has approached this goal from several vantage points. Her team completed the REACH trial that tested an intervention to promote endocrine therapy adherence. The resulting data is helping to refine and test this intervention more broadly. In a second line of research, her team has formulated linguistic predictors of depressive symptoms in women living with metastatic breast cancer. Their findings suggest that psychological distancing and normalization of one’s metastatic breast cancer experience may be a powerful strategy for women vulnerable to depressive symptoms. Further analysis is underway. In prior years, Dr. Stanton and her colleagues accrued more than 150 African American women diagnosed with breast cancer into the SOAR (Speaking Our African American Realities) trial. The study aims to evaluate the relevance and consequences of the Strong Black Woman schema to the health and well-being of these patients. The schema involves historically grounded patterns of thought and behavior that are presumably hazardous (such as emotional suppression, neglect of self-care in the service of caring for others) to women’s well-being and health.
Dr. Stanton has focused her investigations on the SOAR study and has established a unique academic and community partnership to reach participants. With her community collaborators, she has formed culturally curated focus groups to determine what resources and/or interventions are needed to enhance the health and well-being of Black patients. The results of the SOAR study have the potential to define and test feasible interventions that can effectively deliver acceptable and targeted mechanisms (e.g., coping skills) to African American breast cancer survivors.
Annette L. Stanton, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, senior research scientist at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and a member of the Center for Cancer Prevention and Control Research in the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research centers on specifying factors that promote psychological and physical health in individuals who confront health-related adversity, including cancer, infertility, and other medical conditions. She is particularly interested in the conditions under which specific coping processes promote or hinder health and well-being.
In the area of psychosocial oncology, Dr. Stanton conducts longitudinal research to understand the influences of personality and contextual resources, cognitive appraisals, and coping processes on the quality of life and health in individuals diagnosed with or at risk for a range of cancers, including cancer of the breast, eye, lung, and prostate. She then works to translate her findings into effective interventions for individuals living with cancer through conducting randomized, controlled trials of psychosocial interventions.
In 2003, Dr. Stanton received the Senior Investigator Award from Division 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association, and in 2012-13 she served as President of Division 38. In 2013, she received the Society of Behavioral Medicine Cancer Special Interest Group Award for Outstanding Achievement in Behavioral Medicine and Psycho-Oncologic Research. She has received awards for undergraduate teaching and graduate mentoring. In 2006, Professor Stanton was honored with the J. Arthur Woodward Graduate Mentoring Award and the Distinguished Teaching Award in the UCLA Department of Psychology.
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