Objective This study compared the efficacy of two psychological interventions, a coping and communication-enhancing intervention (CCI) and supportive counseling (SC), in reducing depressive symptoms, cancer-specific distress, fear of recurrence, and emotional well-being of women diagnosed with gynecological cancer. Demographic, medical, and psychological moderators of intervention effects were evaluated. Methods Three hundred fifty-two women with gynecological cancer were randomly assigned to eight sessions of CCI, eight sessions of SC, or usual care (UC). Participants completed measures of distress and wellbeing at six time points over an 18 month period of time. Results CCI had a beneficial impact on depressive symptoms and cancer specific distress over the first six months as compared with UC and SC and had a beneficial impact on emotional well-being. The greater coping skill development in CCI has made it a more effective intervention than traditional SC across a broader range of key psychological outcomes. Declines among women in the SC condition were not significantly different from UC. Conclusions The CCI intervention had significant effect on patients' depression, cancer-specific distress, and emotional well-being during a time when the majority of newly diagnosed patients experience elevated levels of distress. Ameliorating such distress post-diagnosis merits its incorporation into clinical care. A brief 8-session structured intervention can be readily applied to this distressed population in need. Brief supportive counseling did not evidence treatment effects, suggesting that more structured approaches are crucial to truly deliver benefits.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Cognitive-behavior therapy
- Psychological interventions
- Supportive counseling