The Szalmuk Family Psycho-oncology Research Unit, established in 2008, strives to achieve real clinical research outcomes that can make a difference to people's lives. Our research interests range from cancer screening in the general population, treatment decision-making, psychosocial factors that influence adjustment to cancer, unmet needs of cancer patients and their families, psychosocial interventions for people affected by cancer and psychosocial factors in palliative care settings.

Currently we are involved in a range of collaborative research projects.

Topics include:
  • A pilot study of the Mindful Self Compassion program for cancer patients
  • The lived experience of parents in communicating their cancer diagnosis to their children - Learn More
  • Treatment information needs of individuals diagnosed with early stage non-small cell lung cancer
  • The development of a treatment decision making aid for men with early stage prostate cancer
  • Understanding the experiences and unmet needs of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer
  • Meaning and Purpose (MaP) therapy in advanced cancer – a pilot randomized controlled trial
  • Interventions to support family communication when a parent has cancer - a systematic review
Completed research projects include :
  • Self-compassion in the context of cancer - a qualitative exploration of a brief group intervention - Learn More
  • Death anxiety interventions in patients with advanced cancer - a systematic review
  • Exploratory examination of the utility of demoralization as a diagnostic specifier for adjustment disorder and major depression - Learn More
  • Refinement and revalidation of the Demoralization Scale - Learn More
  • Introducing a model incorporating early integration of specialise palliative care:  A qualitative research study of staff's perspectives (a collaboration with staff from the Palliative Care Research Program)
  • The lived experiences of patients and carers in Cabrini's palliative home care service
  • Self-compassion and psychological health: The mediating role of emotion regulation difficulties
  • Understanding and measuring health literacy for caregivers of people with cancer
  • Exploring the factors predicting psychological distress in haematopoietic stem cell transplant patients
  • Post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth in women diagnosed with ovarian cancer
  • The information and supportive care needs of Australian, Greek and Italian men diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer
  • The impact of physical activity on the psychological well-being of men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy - Learn More
  • The lived experience of women who have gynaecological cancers - Learn More
  • Quality of life among individuals diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma - Learn More
  • An exploration of the experiences of volunteers in the Cabrini biography service - Learn More
  • Oncology patient wellbeing: mood, quality of life, and fatigue
  • Prostate specific antigen utility and PSA anxiety in the management of prostate cancer by active surveillance
  • Prostate specific antigen testing anxiety in men with prostate cancer or benign prostatic disease
  • Active surveillance for prostate cancer versus active treatment: comparing psychological profiles
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: a post-treatment psycho-education program for women with breast cancer - Learn More
  • Assessing psychological distress in cancer patients
Head of Department

Professor David Kissane AC

Research Team
  • Anne Loupis
  • Genevieve Murphy
Honourary Staff
  • Dr Sue Burney
  • Dr Jo Brooker