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Group Support for Patients With Metastatic Cancer:  A Randomized Prospective Outcome Study

David Spiegel, MD; Joan R. Bloom, PhD; Irvin Yalom, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(5):527-533. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780300039004.
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• The effects of weekly supportive group meetings for women with metastatic carcinoma of the breast were systematically evaluated in a one-year, randomized, prospective outcome study. The groups focused on the problems of terminal illness, including improving relationships with family, friends, and physicians and living as fully as possible in the face of death. We hypothesized that this intervention would lead to improved mood, coping strategies, and self-esteem among those in the treatment group. Eighty-six patients were tested at four-month intervals. The treatment group had significantly lower mooddisturbance scores on the Profile of Mood States scale, had fewer maladaptive coping responses, and were less phobic than the control group. This study provides objective evidence that a supportive group intervention for patients with metastatic cancer results in psychological benefit. Mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of this group intervention are explored.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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