Costs and effectiveness of mindfulness- based art therapy versus standard breast cancer support group for women with cancer

Katherine M. Prioli, Laura Pizzi, Kathryn M. Kash, Andrew B. Newberg, Anna Marie Morlino, Michael J. Matthews, Daniel A. Monti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The results of several studies have demonstrated that women and men with a cancer diagnosis benefit from interventions to reduce distress and improve quality of life (QOL). However, little is known about the costs and effectiveness of such interventions. Identifying a stress-reduction program that is low cost and effective is important for payers, employers, and healthcare professionals, as well as for patients with cancer. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the direct costs and effectiveness of the mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) program compared with the cost and effectiveness of a breast cancer support group (BCSG). METHODS: This economic pilot study evaluated the direct costs and effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for stress reduction in patients with breast cancer who are receiving care versus the cost of a usual care support group used as the comparator. The cost variables for each cohort included the cost of program delivery (ie, staff and supplies), mileage reimbursements, medication costs, and healthcare utilization costs. Effectiveness was measured by a change in quality-adjusted life-year derived from the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) QOL battery. RESULTS: Overall, the cost for 191 participants in the MBAT intervention group was $992.49 per participant compared with $562.71 per participant for the BCSG intervention. Both interventions achieved a similar change in healthcare utilization based on the SF-36 QOL battery. Although the MBAT intervention was more costly than a BCSG intervention, sensitivity analysis showed that the cost-effectiveness of the MBAT intervention could achieve parity with that of a BCSG if some intervention-related costs, such as staff time and supplies, were reduced. CONCLUSION: As psychosocial cancer care becomes more refined with time, it will be important to determine the best and most cost-effective interventions for patients with cancer, particularly in light of healthcare reform. Information from this study could help inform payers, employers, and other stakeholders regarding which interventions would be least costly and most effective for patients with cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-294
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Health and Drug Benefits
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Strategy and Management


  • Art therapy
  • Behavioral medicine
  • Breast cancer support group
  • Integrative medicine
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction
  • Nontraditional supportive interventions

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