Research Focus: Posttraumatic growth among sexual and gender minority (SGM) and non-SGM couples coping with cancer
Program of Research: Sara is a PhD Candidate in the College of Nursing and a licensed clinical social worker. Her experience as an oncology social worker has strongly influenced her decision to pursue a career as an independent research scientist. She has seen first-hand the toll that a cancer diagnosis takes on patients and their partner caregivers. For sexual and gender minority (SGM) couples, the risk for adverse psychological outcomes is even greater due to minority stressors. Despite the potential for negative psychological outcomes, Sara has witnessed the profound growth of couples—SGM and non-SGM--throughout such difficult and stressful times. These experiences have inspired her to focus on the scientific study of posttraumatic growth in an inclusive way, exploring posttraumatic growth for both SGM couples and non-SGM couples dealing with advanced cancer. More specifically, she aims to better understand the antecedents to posttraumatic growth and the processes that facilitate or hinder it for all couples.
Sara hopes that increasing knowledge in this area will lead to the development of strengths-based dyadic interventions that prevent or buffer adverse psychological outcomes, facilitate positive growth, promote inclusive practices and ultimately improve wellbeing and quality of life for all couples coping with cancer. Sara has worked with Dr. Lee Ellington’s R01 studying patients with life-limiting cancer and their family caregivers in palliative and hospice cancer care settings. As part of this R01, Sara was involved in the NIH Administrative Supplement (led by Dr. Cloyes) to study SGM caregivers and hospice team alignment. Sara was served as Graduate Research Assistant on an NCI funded R01 examining couples’ communication in cancer (mPIs Langer & Porter; Co-I Baucom). The purpose of this R01 was to examine dyadic communication and emotion regulation among patients and spouses/partners within the context of a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship.
Sara lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her partner Shawn, their 2-year old son Christopher and new baby Andrew, 1 dog and 1 cat. She enjoys cooking, baking, running, biking, hiking, camping, reading novels, and conversing in Spanish.
Faculty Advisor: Lee Ellington, PhD
Bybee, S., Cloyes, K., Baucom, B., Supiano, K., Mooney, K., Ellington, L. (2021). Bots and nots: Safeguarding online survey research with underrepresented and diverse populations. The Journal of Psychology & Sexuality. https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2021.1936617
Cloyes, K.G., Jones, M., Gettens, C., Wawrzynski, S., Bybee, S., Tay, D., Reblin, M. & Ellington, L. (2021). (in press). Providing home hospice care for LGBTQ+ patients and caregivers: Perceptions and opinions of hospice interdisciplinary care team providers. Palliative and Supportive Care.
Bybee, S.G. (2018). Vicarious Posttraumatic Growth in End-of-Life Care: How Filling Gaps in Knowledge Can Foster Clinicians’ Growth. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care. https://doi.org/10.1080/15524256.2018.1498820
Romano, J., Baucom, B., Baucom, D., Porter, L., Bybee, S., Puleo, B., Leger, A., Hagan, R., Moncur, B., Suggs, E., Suh, B., Ghosh, N., Langer, S. (in press). Observational assessment of communication among persons with cancer and their caregiving partners. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.