Treatment for breast cancer can be stressful for patients. Cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) interventions aim to improve patients’ skills in coping with stress and buffer against the negative effects of cancer.
This meta-analysis aimed to demonstrate the impact of CBSM on breast cancer patients.
We searched PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Database, ScienceDirect, MEDLINE, CENTRAL, CINAHL, and PsycNET for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published up to November 21, 2017. We then performed a meta-analysis of RCTs that compared CBSM for patients with breast cancer with a 1-day psychoeducation seminar, wait-list controls, or standard care.
Eighteen RCTs with 2564 participants were ultimately included. The results showed that CBSM can increase Measure of Current Status relaxation scores, benefit finding, and positive affect and decrease serum cortisol, anxiety, depression, thought avoidance and intrusion, and negative mood. However, it appears to have no effect on stress or mood disturbance.
Cognitive-behavioral stress management appears to be beneficial for breast cancer patients. Further high-quality RCTs are needed to clarify if any other factors are influenced by CBSM intervention.
Implications for Practice
Cognitive-behavioral stress management can help breast cancer patients develop skills to increase relaxation, benefit finding, and positive affect; CBSM may provide a buffer against the negative effects of cancer. Further, CBSM may help breast cancer patients replace negative thoughts, improve their thought processes and behaviors, and maintain social support using cognitive and interpersonal coping skills. Nurses should be aware of the benefits of CBSM in their day-to-day care of breast cancer patients.