Meaning-centred group psychotherapy for cancer survivors effective in the long run
Meaning-centred group psychotherapy for cancer survivors (MCGP-CS) has lasting benefits on participants’ sense of personal growth and on their positive relations with other people, reports a new study.
Researchers randomly assigned 170 cancer survivors to MCGP-CS, supportive group psychotherapy or care as usual (CAU). Study outcomes included scores in the Personal Meaning Profile (PMP), Ryff’s Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB) and the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory. Assessments were performed at baseline and at 1 week, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years after the intervention.
Breast cancer was the most common malignancy. Most participants had completed their main treatments 1.5 years prior, and almost half were still on hormonal therapy. Thirteen patients experienced cancer recurrence during follow-up while three died.
Total scores in the PMP and SPWB scales showed no significant between-group long-term difference, with scores remaining comparable from baseline to 2 years follow-up.
However, researchers detected significantly stronger long-term effects of MCGP-CS compared to CAU in terms of goal-orientedness (p<0.001) and positive relations (p=0.025).
At baseline, Cohen’s d effect sizes showed a significant and large advantage of MCGP-CS over CAU in terms of goal-orientedness (p<0.001), though this was attenuated over time. The effect size difference between MCGP-CS and CAU remained medium to large over the long term in terms of positive relations.
The principal findings were robust to sensitivity analyses and remained stable even when excluding participants who had received psychological treatment from 4 weeks before the study to 2 years after.