Thomas Blank, PhD

Professor Emeritus, Human Development &

Family Sciences (Affiliate)

Research Overview

Dr. Blank’s primary research interests involve the psychological aspects of dealing with cancer, especially prostate cancer, from treatment decision-making to long-term survivorship, focusing on the relationship with adult development, aging, and the life course. He has been the principal investigator on both aging and prostate cancer research from the National Institute on Aging and has collaborated with Crystal Park, Ph.D., on research on younger cancer survivors funded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Dr. Blank studies how cancer survivors follow trajectories of change or lack of change from a cancer experience, especially their positive and negative changes. Currently, he is investigating the “age intensification effect,” an effect in which younger cancer survivors are more likely to report greater negative and positive impacts. As an InCHIP PI he and two colleagues have conducted focus groups of middle-aged and older gay men about prostate health and prostate cancer, until their research an unexplored area. With colleagues he is developing research on religion/spirituality and African-American survivors and health behavior change after cancer. Besides his research and publications on these topics, Dr. Blank has served five times as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program proposals in biomedical science. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.


Ph.D., Columbia University, 1976 (social psychology)
M.A., Columbia University, 1975 (social psychology)
B.A., Concordia Senior College, 1968 (theology and psychology)

Recent Publications


Featured Publications

Park, C. L., Edmondson, D., & Blank, T. O. (2009). Religious and non-religious pathways to stress-related growth in cancer survivors. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 1, 321-335.

Blank, T. O., Asencio, M. W., Descartes, L., & Griggs, J. (2009). Aging, health, and GLBTQ family and community life. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 5, 9-34.

Park, C. L., Zlateva, I, & Blank, T. O. (2009). Self-identity after cancer: “survivor,” “victim,” “patient,” and “person with cancer.” Journal of General Internal Medicine, 24 (Supplement 2), S430-S435.

Yanez, B., Edmondson, D., Stanton, A. L., Park, C. L., Kwan, L., & Blank, T. O. (2009). Facets of spirituality as predictors of adjustment to cancer: Relative contributions of having faith and finding meaning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 730-741.

Blank, T. O. (2009). Cancer from both sides now: combining personal and research perspectives on survivorship. Journal of General Internal Medicine,24 (Supplement 2), S425-S428. DOI 10.1007/s11606-009-1018-5.

Asencio, M., Blank, T., Descartes, L., & Crawford, A. (2009). Prospect of prostate cancer: a challenge for gay men’s sexualities as they age. Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, 6, 38-51. DOI 10.1525/srsp.2009.6.4.38

Park, C. L., Edmondson, D., Fenster, J. R., & Blank, T. O. (2008). Meaning making and psychological adjustment following cancer: The mediating roles of growth, life meaning, and restored just world beliefs. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 863-875.

Blank, T. O., & Bellizzi, K. M. (2008). A gerontologic view on cancer and aging. Cancer, 112, 2569-2576.

Bellizzi, K. M., & Blank, T. O. (2007). Cancer-related identity and positive and negative affect in survivors of prostate cancer. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 1, 44-48.

Edmondson, D., Park, C. L., Blank, T., Fenster, J. R., & Mills, M. A. (2008). Deconstructing spiritual well-being: Existential well-being and HRQOL in cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology, 17,161-169.

Bellizzi, K. M., Blank, T. O., & Oakes, C. M. (2006). Social comparison processes in autobiographies of adult cancer survivors. Journal of Health Psychology, 11, 777-786.

Blank, T. O., Graves, K., Sepucha, K., & Llewellyn-Thomas, H. (2006). Understanding treatment decision-making: Contexts, commonalities, complexities, and challenges. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 32, 211-217.

Blank, T. O., & Adams-Blodnieks, M. (2007). The who and what of usage of two cancer online mailing lists. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 1249-1257.

Blank, T. O., & Bellizzi, K. M. (2006). After prostate cancer: Predictors of well-being among long-term prostate cancer survivors. Cancer, 106, 2128-2135.

Bellizzi, K.M. & Blank, T. O. (2006). Understanding the dynamics of post-traumatic growth in breast cancer survivors. Health Psychology, 25, 47-56.

Blank, T. O. (2005). Gay men and prostate cancer: Invisible diversity. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 23, 2593-2596.

Blank, T. O., Levesque, M. J., & Winter, G. P. (1993). The triad of control: Concepts and applications to caregiving. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 16, 261-286.

Blank, T. O. (1988) Older persons and their housing, today and tomorrow. Springfield, IL: Charles Thomas.

Blank, T. O. (1982). A social psychology of developing adults. New York: Wiley-Interscience.


Contact Information
Mailing AddressDepartment of Human Development and Family Studies
348 Mansfield Road, Unit 2058
(Family Studies Building, FSB)
Storrs, CT 06269-2058