The Effect of a Psychosocial Group Intervention on Loneliness and Social Support for Japanese Women With Primary Breast Cancer

Sakiko Fukui

Makiko Koike

Akira Ooba

Yosuke Uchitomi

ONF 2003, 30(5), 823-830. DOI: 10.1188/03.ONF.823-830

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the effects of a psychosocial group intervention on loneliness and social support in Japanese women with breast cancer.

Design: Secondary analysis of a randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: A breast cancer outpatient area of a National Cancer Center hospital in Japan.

Sample: 50 women who were less than 65 years old, were diagnosed with primary breast cancer, and had undergone surgery within 4-18 months of the start of the study.

Methods: Data were collected as part of a trial of an intervention. The investigators conducted a six-week group intervention consisting of health education, coping skills training, stress management, and psychological support. Subjects completed the revised University of California, Los Angeles, Loneliness Scale and a social support questionnaire at baseline, six weeks, and six months.

Main Research Variables: Loneliness, number of confidants, satisfaction with confidants, and satisfaction with mutual aid.

Findings: Fifty (33%) of the 151 invited patients participated and were randomized to either experimental (n = 25) or control (n = 25) groups, and 23 (92%) in each group completed the study. The experimental group had significantly lower scores than the control group for loneliness and significantly higher scores for the number of confidants, satisfaction with confidants, and satisfaction with mutual aid over the six-month study period.

Conclusions: This intervention is beneficial for Japanese patients with breast cancer experiencing loneliness and inadequate social support.

Implications for Nursing: The program can be used as an effective support for Japanese patients with cancer to manage their psychosocial concerns associated with illness.

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