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J Adv Nurs. 2005 Aug;51(4):369-81.

Nursing and cancer support groups.

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Department of Nursing, International University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.



The aim of this paper is to review the evidence on the effectiveness of support groups by reporting a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating support groups for patients with cancer.


One of the most important nursing aims is to give patients with cancer emotional support and strengthen their adaptation to the disease. According to the literature, support groups for these patients are beneficial.


Original studies from 14 databases published during the past 20 years in peer review journals were selected. Twenty studies with a randomized clinical trial design constituted the final meta-analysis sample. Methodological quality of the selected articles was checked using the Jadad Scale and the Checklist of Consort Statement. Demographic data were analysed using the SPSS program, and the heterogeneity calculation and effect size were analysed using the Rev-Man 4-.1-Metaview program.


The results indicate that participation in a support group is associated with significant improvements in a patient's emotional state (depression and anxiety), illness adaptation, quality of life, and marital relationships.


Support group participation for patients with cancer has a positive impact in various areas. Nurses should promote participation as a crucial part of their care.

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