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Education and Peer Discussion Group Interventions



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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Education and Peer Discussion Group Interventions and Adjustment to Breast Cancer Vicki S Helgeson PhD Sheldon Cohen PhD Richard Schulz PhD Joyce Yasko PhD FAAN Background We report a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of education based and peer discussion based group interventions on adjustment to breast cancer Methods Women with stage I II or III breast cancer seen in the education groups both immediately following and 6 months after the intervention There were no benefits of participation in peer discussion groups and some indications of adverse effects on adjustment at both follow up examinations The effects could be explained by changes in self esteem body image and intrusive thoughts about the illness n 312 were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 group conditions control education peer discussion or education plus peer discussion combination Seven groups each comprising 8 12 women were conducted in each of the 4 conditions 28 groups total Adjustment was measured before the intervention immediately after the intervention and 6 months after the intervention Conclusions Education based group interventions facilitated the initial adjustment of women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer There was no evidence of benefits from peer discussion group interventions Results Consistently positive effects on adjustment were Arch Gen Psychiatry 1999 56 340 347 E From the Psychology Department Carnegie Mellon University Drs Helgeson and Cohen Department of Psychiatry University of Pittsburgh Dr Schulz and the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Dr Yasko Pittsburgh Pa VIDENCE EXISTS that psycho therapeutic group interventions conducted by professional therapists facilitate adjustment to disease among people with cancer 1 2 However the costs associated with formal psychotherapy groups preclude communities from using them Instead community support groups borrow some of the cognitive and behavioral



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