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J Clin Oncol. 2013 Feb 20;31(6):782-93. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2011.40.8922. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Effects of psycho-oncologic interventions on emotional distress and quality of life in adult patients with cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Psychology, Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Comprehensive Cancer Center Mainfranken, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany. h.faller@uni-wuerzburg.de

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study aimed to evaluate the effects of psycho-oncologic interventions on emotional distress and quality of life in adult patients with cancer.

METHODS:

Literature databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials that compared a psycho-oncologic intervention delivered face-to face with a control condition. The main outcome measures were emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and quality of life. Outcomes were evaluated for three time periods: post-treatment, ≤ 6 months, and more than 6 months. We applied standard meta-analytic techniques to analyze both published and unpublished data from the retrieved studies. Sensitivity analyses and meta-regression were used to explore reasons for heterogeneity.

RESULTS:

We retrieved 198 studies (covering 22,238 patients) that report 218 treatment-control comparisons. Significant small-to-medium effects were observed for individual and group psychotherapy and psychoeducation. These effects were sustained, in part, in the medium term (≤ 6 months) and long term (> 6 months). Short-term effects were evident for relaxation training. Studies that preselected participants according to increased distress produced large effects at post-treatment. A moderator effect was found for the moderator variable "duration of the intervention," with longer interventions producing more sustained effects. Indicators of study quality were often not reported. Small-sample bias indicative of possible publication bias was found for some effects, particularly with individual psychotherapy and relaxation training.

CONCLUSION:

Various types of psycho-oncologic interventions are associated with significant, small-to-medium effects on emotional distress and quality of life. These results should be interpreted with caution, however, because of the low quality of reporting in many of the trials.

PMID:
23319686
DOI:
10.1200/JCO.2011.40.8922
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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