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.

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 August 28, 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 August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Doctors have used radio frequency ablation or RFA to reduce neck and back pain for years. But now, that same technique is providing longer-term relief for patients with severe knee pain. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:
from the past week

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