The Effects of Muscle Relaxation and Therapeutic Walking on Depression, Suicidal Ideation, and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Chemotherapy

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Abstract

Background:

The suicide rate of cancer patients is high in Taiwan. Breast cancer has a high incidence rate and is the leading cause of cancer in women. There is a lack of research examining breast cancer–related depression, suicidal ideation, and quality of life.

Objectives:

This study evaluated the effects of muscle relaxation and therapeutic walking on depression, suicidal ideation, and quality of life in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Methods:

An experimental approach was adopted. A group of 87 breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy were randomly assigned into an experimental group (n = 44) or a control group (n = 43). The subjects in the experimental group received 2 interventions for 3 months. This study used 3 instruments, including (1) the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, (2) the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation, and (3) the World Health Organization Questionnaire on Quality of Life.

Results:

The results showed no significant difference in any outcome variable in the pretest. The results of the posttest indicated that the 2 groups scored significantly differently only on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (U = 638.00, P < .05). The breast cancer patients who participated in the 3 month muscle relaxation and therapeutic walking interventions had a lower level of depression (RE¯ = 37.00) than those who did not (RC¯ = 51.16).

Conclusion:

The muscle relaxation and therapeutic walking program was effective in the reduction of breast cancer patients’ depression.

Implications for Practice:

Nursing staff could teach muscle relaxation and therapeutic walking to breast cancer patients to reduce their depression.

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