Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Supporting others brings healing to cancer survivors

Date:
November 26, 2013
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
A new study finds that survivors of hematopoietic stem cell transplant, an aggressive treatment for blood cancers, benefited from a two-part peer support process the authors call expressive helping.

A new study finds that survivors of hematopoietic stem cell transplant, an aggressive treatment for blood cancers, benefited from a two-part peer support process the authors call expressive helping.

Related Articles


The process includes first writing for oneself in emotionally expressive ways about the trauma of the cancer and transplant experience, followed by peer helping, which includes writing as if speaking to a person ready to undergo the transplant procedure about the survivor's experience while offering advice and encouragement.

Christine Rini, PhD, research associate professor of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, led the study.

Benefits of receiving peer support when in ill health are recognized widely. Although fewer studies have focused upon the effect of an ill person's giving support to a peer, prior research has established that cancer survivors who help others face treatment experience a range of psychosocial and health-related benefits as a result of peer helping. The current study shows that the survivor's preceding the helping with emotionally expressive writing about his or her own experiences increases the health benefits to the survivor.

Rini and colleagues designed a four-part trial that compared expressive helping with neutral writing for oneself, expressive writing for oneself and peer helping (writing as if speaking to a person ready to undergo transplant, without first doing expressive writing for oneself).

Post-intervention, the survivor-participants were evaluated for levels of general psychological distress, physical symptoms and health-related quality of life. These measures were chosen specifically because the toxicity of hematopoietic stem cell transplant causes fatigue, cognitive problems and psychological distress that can last for months or years, diminishing quality of life. The researchers wanted to determine which interventions might benefit those survivors who had surpassed acute treatment but were still suffering moderate to severe survivorship problems.

Among survivors with moderate to severe survivorship problems, the expressive helping process, which combined expressive writing for oneself and peer helping by writing for others, reduced distress and improved physical symptoms and quality of life, compared to the helping or writing processes alone.

"We think that expressive helping helps transplant survivors translate their experience into language so they can develop a more coherent narrative of their experience and greater insight into its meaning," Rini said. "Research shows that expressive writing has those kinds of benefits. In turn, that should help prepare survivors to communicate their experience to others in a way that provides more meaningful peer support."

The study sample included 178 women and 137 men, an average 20 months post-transplant, recruited between 2008 and 2011 from survivors at Mount Sinai and Hackensack University medical centers. Consistent with the population receiving stem cell transplant in the U.S., most were white, partnered, college-educated and with moderately high income.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Supporting others brings healing to cancer survivors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126123741.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2013, November 26). Supporting others brings healing to cancer survivors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126123741.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Supporting others brings healing to cancer survivors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126123741.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) Microsoft accidentally revealed its upcoming fitness band on Wednesday, so the company went ahead and announced it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins