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Group therapy for metastatic cancer patients: report of an intervention

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This paper describes results of group-based therapy for metastatic cancer patients, based on Leventhal et al.'s (1984) Model of Coping. The study investigated, first, the suitability of group treatment designed both to enhance emotional expression, and to elicit and solve problems, amongst a predominately rural population in north east Scotland; and second, the outcome and process of such a group. Psychometric and process measures were taken before, during and after group treatment. Referral rate was lower than anticipated and attrition rate was high. Most psychometric test results did not show improvement in mental health scores, although reported satisfaction was high. Content analysis of a sample of utterances, coded reliably into Spiegel and Spira's (1991) category system, showed that the majority of utterances (29%) concerned family and social network issues while a minority of utterances concerned death and dying (2%), although several women died during the study. It is argued that the group was helpful to some women, but that overall, its effect on mental health was limited. The study did not therefore provide a strong endorsement of the use of group support within this cultural context, although process analysis showed its relevance to individual women's concerns.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1999

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