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Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jameson K. Hirsch

Committee Members

Jon R. Webb, Stacey L. Williams, Julia C. Dodd


Recent changes in health care policy, which mandate the monitoring of illness symptoms and improving the satisfaction of medical patients, may shed light on possible points of intervention to improve patient-centered outcomes. Health-related quality of life (HRQL), or one’s appraisal of their mental and physical functioning, is a frequently-used metric relevant to improved health care outcomes. HRQL may be impacted by multiple inter- and intra-personal factors, whether an adaptive (e.g., social problem solving ability) or maladaptive effect (e.g., thwarted interpersonal needs, depression). We examined the association between social problem solving ability and mental and physical HRQL, and the potential mediating roles of thwarted interpersonal needs and depressive symptoms. Participants (N=223) were middle-aged and recruited from a primary care clinic. Our hypotheses that thwarted interpersonal needs and depressive symptoms would sequentially mediate the association between independent scales of social problem solving (negative problem orientation, positive problem orientation, rational problem solving, impulsive/careless style, avoidant style) and HRQL (mental and physical), were largely supported. Our findings highlight the importance of social problem solving ability as a potential point of intervention to improve mood, interpersonal functioning, and mental and physical health in an integrated care setting. Strategies such as Social Problem Solving Therapy might be particularly effective in bolstering social problem solving, with consequent beneficial effects on interpersonal functioning and mood, thereby improving overall health-related quality of life.

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Only


Copyright by the authors.