Facilitation of Self-Transcendence in a Breast Cancer Support Group: II

Doris Dickerson Coward

ONF 2003, 30(2), 291-300. DOI: 10.1188/03.ONF.291-300

Purpose/Objectives: To pilot a second support group intervention study promoting self-transcendence perspectives and activities and to document changes overtime in well-being in support group participants compared with nonparticipants.

Design: Quasiexperimental, partial randomization, preference trial design.

Setting: An urban breast cancer resource center established by survivors.

Sample: 41 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer were recruited, and 39 completed the study. 22 women participated in three intervention support groups; 17 were in a comparison group.

Methods: The intervention was an eight-week, closed support group based on self-transcendence theory. Data were collected three times during 14 months.

Main Research Variables: Support group intervention, self-transcendence, and emotional and physical well-being.

Findings: The intervention group had lower scores than the comparison group on self-transcendence and well-being variables at baseline (time [T] 1). Scores were higher for both groups postintervention (T2), with no differences between groups. One year postintervention (T3), intervention group scores again were lower than comparison group scores. Intervention group T3 scores were unchanged from T2.

Conclusions: Most potential participants were unwilling to risk being randomized into a nonpreferred group. Activities based on self-transcendence theory were associated with expanded perspectives and activities and an improved sense of well-being in support group participants at the end of the intervention, but not one year later. Findings from the pilot studies informed a study currently in progress.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses should maintain awareness of local resources for support and make that information available to women when they are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, during their treatment, and later.

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