Medline: 6489742

General Hospital Psychiatry 6: 243-249, 1984.

Preventive psychosocial intervention with newly diagnosed cancer patients.

Worden JW, Weisman AD


To study the effectiveness of preventive intervention in lowering emotional distress and improving coping, 381 newly diagnosed cancer patients were assessed shortly after the time of initial diagnosis. Subjects predicted by a screening instrument to be at risk for high levels of emotional distress and poor coping during the second through sixth months of their illness were randomly allocated to one of two short-term intervention programs (N = 59). Specific techniques to lower distress and improve coping were given during the four weeks following diagnosis. A control group (N = 58) received no intervention. All were followed at two-month to 6-month intervals by interview and testing. There was a significant lowering of emotional distress in the intervention group as compared to the control group (p less than 0.05). There was also a significant increase in the level of problem resolution in the intervention groups (p less than 0.01), although the numbers of problems experienced by both groups were no different.

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