Hirai, K., Motooka, H., Ito, N., Wada, N., Yoshizaki, A., Shiozaki, M., . . . Akechi, T. (2012). Problem-solving therapy for psychological distress in Japanese early-stage breast cancer patients. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, 42, 1168–1174.doi: 10.1093/jjco/hys158
To examine the feasibility and effectiveness of problem-solving therapy for psychological distress among patients with early-stage breast cancer
The problem-solving therapy involved five weekly sessions aimed at assessing problems, setting goals, generating solutions, choosing a solution, and implementing the solution and evaluating results. The therapy included a manual and worksheet for patients to use. Authors collected self-report data prior to the intervention, after the final sessions, and three months after the final sessions.
Patients were undergoing active antitumor treatment.
A pre/post-test design was used.
Four patients dropped out of the study after starting treatment. Analysis showed a significant effect of time on anxiety and depression scores (p < 0.01). Over time scores for global health status, physical functioning, emotional functioning, and role functioning improved significantly.
The study shows that symptoms of anxiety and depression and some aspects of quality of life improved over time. The effect of the intervention cannot be evaluated from these study results. Though authors state that the intervention was feasible, the fact that 17% of the initial sample did not complete the study suggests that the intervention was not of interest to a substantial proportion of the patients.
Study results are insufficient to allow evaluation of the acceptability and efficacy of the problem-solving intervention.