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M. D. Anderson study finds pre-surgical stress management improves mood, quality of life
Date:4/6/2009

of, and 48 hours following surgery; two 60-90 minute individual supportive attention sessions and boosters similar to the stress management group; or standard care. Assessments occurred before the sessions, one month before, one week before, and the morning of surgery, as well as six weeks, six and 12 months following surgery.

The stress management was based on aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy. Men in the stress management group met with a clinical psychologist and were taught simple behavioral techniques, including diaphragmatic breathing and relaxing guided imagery and cognitive therapy. Those in the supportive attention groups met with the same psychologist, but sessions were more general, and centered around open discussions. Patients in the standard care group did not receive any behavioral therapy.

For the stress management group, the men were exposed to an imagery experience of the day of surgery - all the sounds and sensations from pre-op, to the recovery room, to coming out of anesthesia - while they were in a relaxed state. They were then taught cognitive skills to work with negative thinking and realistic expectations - so that patients could better manage any unexpected side effects during their recovery or difficulty healing.

The researchers found that in terms of short-term effects, assessed at one week before and the morning of surgery, men in the stress management group had the lowest levels of mood disturbance followed by those in the supportive attention group, with patients in the no therapy group having the highest level, with the difference between the stress management and standard care groups being statistically significant.

During the long-term follow-up, assessed at six weeks, six and 12 months, patients in the stress management group reported a higher level of physical functioning and aspects of quality of life than patients in the other two cohorts; the difference between the stress management an
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Contact: Lindsay Anderson
lindsay.anderson@gabbe.com
212-220-4444
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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