Tenley Hitz

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Surjadi, Florensia

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences


Individual & family studies; Health education; Social research; Lymphoblastic leukemia; Teenagers; Behavioral assessment; Health education


Rates of adolescent cancer, specifically Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), are on the rise despite advancements to modern medicine. An ALL diagnosis may create unique challenges for adolescents, who often receive more severe treatment plans than do younger children, while at the same time they rely more readily on their peers for psychosocial support. Peer acceptance is vital for all adolescents, and is especially so for an adolescent with ALL, as it has the potential to not only increase resiliency but also to ease a sometimes-tumultuous transition back to the school setting. It is believed that cancer workshops could serve to increase peer acceptance for adolescents with ALL. Still, research on adolescent ALL, let alone peer acceptance, is rare.;The purpose of this study was to investigate if increased awareness of a classmate's cancer/ALL could also increase peer acceptance and ease the ALL patient's transition back into the school system post-hospitalization. Using the Theory of Planned Behavior, it was hypothesized that adolescents would report greater peer acceptance of a classmate who had been diagnosed with ALL following a cancer workshop about ALL.;This study utilized a pretest posttest design. Students (n=24) were given a pretest (Adolescent Cancer Knowledge Questionnaire), which measured knowledge, behavioral intent, and attitude about cancer prior to participating in an adolescent cancer workshop. After attending the workshops, students' questions were addressed and one week following, students (n=21) were given a posttest.;Analysis revealed that mean knowledge and behavioral intent scores increased post- workshop. A significant positive correlation was found between knowing someone with cancer and having an increased desire to interact. Likewise, a paired t-test revealed that the cancer workshop increased both adolescent cancer knowledge as well as their behavioral intention to interact with an ill classmate. Following the Theory of Planned Behavior, this reported behavioral intention can become actual behavior that increases the ALL patient's interaction with his/her peers, which can potentially decrease school-related anxiety post-hospitalization among adolescents with ALL.


Advisors: Florensia Surjadi.||Committee members: Susan Bowers; Xiaolin Xie.


74 pages




Northern Illinois University

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