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Christina D. Wagner

Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Psychology and Neuroscience Department


It is hard to imagine a topic more interesting than those examined by psychologists in their attempts to explain human behavior.  My interest in psychology emerged in high school when I took Introductory Psychology and further developed through the completion of my major in college.  I was fortunate to learn from extremely dynamic and enthusiastic professors, which ultimately sparked my interest in an academic career. Late in college, I gained my first exposure to psychologists working in health care settings, and have found health psychology to be the perfect vehicle to merge my interests in teaching, medicine, research and clinical practice.  As a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in psycho-social oncology, my clinical work directly informs my teaching and research.  I have trained and held clinical positions at multiple cancer centers where I enjoy collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams, learning more about medicine and being constantly amazed by the resilience of the human spirit when tested with adversity. 


My research is devoted to assisting patients and families cope more effectively with cancer.  I am particularly interested in the impact of cancer on couples and how they confront cancer together.  I also research quality of life and long-term survivorship of cancer patients.  Most recently my work has moved into the area of palliative and end of life care and implementation of acceptance based therapies to improve communication, reduce avoidance and reduce psychological distress of cancer patients, survivors and their partners.  My clinical experiences in medical settings shapes many of my research questions and interests, while the knowledge I acquire through research informs my clinical practice.


(*DePauw student)

Wagner, C.D., Johns, S.J., Brown, L., Hanna, N, & Bigatti, S.M.  (2015).  Acceptability and feasibility of a meaning-based intervention for advanced cancer patients and their spouses: A pilot study.  American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. doi: 10/1177.1049909115575709.


Steiner, J. L., Wagner, C. D., Bigatti, S. M., & Storniolo, A. M.  (2014).  Depressive rumination and cognitive processes associated with depression in breast cancer patients and their spouses. Family, Systems, and Health, 32, 377-388. doi: 10.1037/fsh0000066.


Das*, L.T., Wagner, C. D., & Bigatti, S. M.  (2014).  Illness representations of cancer among resident Indians.  Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 15, 845-852.


Wagner, C. D., Das*, L. T., Bigatti, S. M., Storniolo, A.M. (2011). Characterizing burden, caregiving benefits, and psychological distress of husbands of breast cancer patients during treatment and beyond.  Cancer Nursing, 34, E21-E30.


Bigatti, S. M., Wagner, C. D., Lydon, J. R., Steiner, J. L. & Miller, K.M. (2011).  Depression in husbands of breast cancer patients: Relations to coping and social support.  Supportive Care in Cancer, 19. 455-466.


Wagner, C. D., Bigatti, S. M., & Storniolo, A. M. (2006). Quality of life of husbands of women with breast cancer.  Psycho-Oncology, 15, 109-120. [Paper findings also summarized by BreastCancer.Net News]


Evans, J. D., Wagner, C. D., & Welch, J. L. (2004). Cognitive status in hemodialysis as a function of fluid adherence, Renal Failure, 26, 575-581.


Bigatti, S. M., & Wagner, C. D.  (2003). Psychosocial consequences of breast cancer for patients and families. Psychology Science, 45, Suppl. II, 75-89.


oral Presentations

Wagner, C. D., Steiner, J., Storniolo, A. M., Bigatti, S. B., & Johnston, E. (2009).  Patient and spouse cognitions in advanced breast cancer: Implications for treatment.  Paper presented at 11th World Congress of International Psycho-Oncology Society Annual Meeting, Vienna, Austria.

Wagner, C. D., & Bigatti, S. M.  (2008). Prospective examination of mood states of husbands of women with breast cancer. Paper presented at 29th Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, San Diego, CA.

Wagner, C. D., Bigatti, S.M., Lydon, J.R., & Storniolo, A.M. (2006). Breast cancer beyond the patient: Depression in husbands.  Paper presented at 27th Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, San Francisco, California. [Paper findings also featured on Medscape/WebMD, www.medscape.com/viewarticle/531764]

Lydon, J. R, Wagner, C. D & Bigatti, S. M (2004).  Role strain in husbands of breast cancer and husbands of fibromyalgia patients.  Paper presented at the 25th Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

select Poster Presentations

(*DePauw student)

Christensen*, K., Champion*, J., & Wagner, C. D.  (2014).  The effects of appearance-based and health-based interventions on sun protection attitudes, intentions, and behaviors of college students.  Poster presented at the 16th World Congress of the International Psycho-Oncology Society, Lisbon, Portugal. 

Wagner, C. D., Bright*, A., Bigatti, S., M., & Hanna, N.  (2014).  Results of a meaning-based intervention for late stage cancer patients and their spouses.  Poster presented at 16th World Congress of the International Psycho-Oncology Society, Lisbon, Portugal.

Bigatti, S. M., Wagner, C. D. & Hanna, N. (2013).  Supportive Care for Advanced Cancer Patients and their Partners.  Poster presented at the RESPECT Center Conference: Translating Research into Best Practice: Improving Palliative and End-of-life Care, Indianapolis, IN.

Bigatti, S.M. & Wagner, C.D. (2011).  Supportive care for advanced lung cancer patients and their partners.  Poster presented at the Science of Compassion: Future Directions in End of Life and Palliative Care Conference of the National Institute of Nursing Research.  Washington, D.C.

Wagner, C. D., Hoang, V.*, Carpenter, J. & Bigatti, S. M.  (2011). Characterizing sleep disturbance and quality of life in long-term, disease-free survivors of breast cancer.  Poster accepted at Annual Meeting of American Psycho-Oncology Society, Miami, FL.


Garringer-MacCabe, K.* & Wagner, C. D.  (2010). Fatigue as a mediator between exercise and quality of life for breast cancer survivors.  Poster presented at 22nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Society, Boston, MA.