Chelsea Siwik and Dr. Sandra Sephton Awarded Grant to Study Positive and Negative Self-Views, Depression, and Telomere Length in Lung Cancer Patients

Graduate Student Chelsea Siwik, in collaboration with Dr. Sandra Sephton, has received the $5000 inaugural award of the Jesse H. Wright, M.D., Ph.D. Endowment for Mood Disorders Research. This research will explore in lung cancer patient data the interplay of positive (self-compassion) and negative (shame, guilt) self-views with depression, and telomere length---a marker of cellular aging and a strong predictor of morbidity and mortality.

One reviewer wrote, “If their findings support the hypothesis that shame more negatively impacts telomere length and self-compassion is protective, the implications are potentially far-reaching. As the authors propose, cognitive based interventions could be developed to address the negative construct of shame, and alternatively, mindfulness-based approaches could be used to improve self-compassion, impacting telomere length (and perhaps mortality or cancer incidence in smokers).” 

Dr. Sephton directs the Mindfulness and Biobehavioral Health Research Lab: Find them on Facebook at