Does a self management intervention lower distress in woman diagnosed with breast cancer?

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Psychological distress is particularly common with any cancer diagnosis. This paper examined the psychological distress in a cohort of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and postulates on the underlying theory. A longitudinal study of a cohort of women (n = 147) diagnosed with breast cancer (within the past 1 year), was conducted at University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur. Data were collected at baseline and at post 4-week intervention. Analysis of variance was conducted to examine for any significant differences in the change-scores between the experimental group (n = 69) and the control group (n = 78). Using the change scores, analyses of variance showed significant differences between groups for stress, F(1, 140) = 13.68, p < .0001, anxiety F(1, 140) = 8.44, p < .004, and depression, F(1, 140) = 11.57, p < .0001. Levels of stress, anxiety and depression generally decreased significantly in the experimental groups, p < .05, but either maintained or increased in the control group. This study indicates that the level of psychological distress of women with breast cancer can be ameliorated with a 4-week self-management intervention. Lower stress levels were also found in women who reported engagement in higher physical activity than women with low physical activity.

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