Lessons to be learned from 25 years of research investigating psychosocial interventions for cancer patients.

Moyer A, Knapp-Oliver SK, Sohl SJ, Schnieder S, Floyd AH
Cancer J. 2009 15 (5): 345-51

PMID: 19826351 · PMCID: PMC3032403 · DOI:10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181bf51fb

Conducting rigorous psychosocial intervention research with cancer patients has many challenges including encouraging them to join studies, asking them to engage in interventions or be part of control conditions, and to provide data over follow-up assessments. Here, we highlight valuable insights regarding such challenges provided by investigators studying psychosocial interventions for cancer patients. Handling these skillfully has important implications for the internal and external validity of this research and the ethical treatment of participants. Challenges noted in research reports included in a systematic review of 25 years of research (comprising 488 unique projects) investigating interventions designed to enhance cancer patients' quality of life were compiled. Among the difficulties mentioned was the fact that patients may not feel the need for psychosocial interventions and thus may not be interested in joining an intervention study. Patients who do feel the need for such interventions may be deterred from joining trials by the prospect of being randomized to a nonpreferred group; if they do join a trial, participants may be disappointed, drop out, or seek compensatory additional assistance when they are assigned to a control group. Apart from randomization, other aspects of research may be off-putting to participants or potential participants, such as the language of consent forms or the intrusiveness of questions being asked. Potential remedies, such as research awareness interventions, monetary incentives, partnering with cancer support organizations, and using designs that take preferences into account merit consideration and further research inquiry.

MeSH Terms (8)

Attitude to Health Humans Neoplasms Patient Compliance Patient Selection Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic Research Subjects Sociology, Medical

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