[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is associated with significant distress and psychosocial morbidity. Although psychosocial interventions have been developed in an attempt to improve psychosocial outcomes in cancer patients and survivors, there is continued debate about whether there is adequate high-level evidence to establish the effectiveness of these interventions. The evidence base is limited as a result of numerous challenges faced by those attempting to conduct psychosocial intervention trials within the health system. Barriers include insufficient participant recruitment, difficulty generalizing from single-trial studies, difficulty in building and managing research teams with multidisciplinary expertise, lack of research design expertise and a lack of incentives for researchers conducting intervention research. To strengthen the evidence base, more intervention studies employing methodologically rigorous research designs are necessary. METHODS: In order to advance the evidence base of interventions designed to improve psychosocial outcomes for cancer patients and survivors, we propose the formation of a collaborative trials group that conducts multicenter trials to test the effectiveness of such interventions. RESULTS: Establishment of such a group would improve the quality of the evidence base in psychosocial research in cancer patients, by increasing support for conducting intervention research and providing intervention research training opportunities. A multidisciplinary collaborative group conducting multicenter trials would have the capacity to overcome many of the barriers that currently exist. CONCLUSIONS: A stronger evidence base is necessary to identify effective psychosocial interventions for cancer patients. The proposed formation of a psycho-oncology collaborative trials group that conducts multicenter trials to test the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions would assist in achieving this outcome.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this review was to describe the findings and methodological quality of studies, which sought to validate the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) against the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM in cancer populations. We also sought to compare the cut points recommended by these validation studies with the way in which the HADS is currently used to determine prevalence of psychological morbidity in cancer populations.
An electronic database search was conducted of Medline from 1983 to October 2010 for validation studies of the HADS in cancer populations. Reference lists of HADS reviews were hand searched. To examine which cut points are commonly used in cancer specific literature to identify the prevalence of psychological disorders, studies published in 2009 were identified via an electronic database search of Medline.
Ten studies, which validated the HADS against the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM in cancer patient populations, were found and examined in detail. None met all methodological criteria associated with the selection of a screening instrument. Recommendations for optimal HADS thresholds varied substantially across these studies. The most commonly used threshold for determining caseness in the 2009 literature on prevalence of psychological distress among patients with cancer was a subscale score of ≥ 8. This threshold was poorly supported by the results of the 10 cancer HADS validation studies examined.
Caution is warranted in interpreting the results of prevalence studies using the HADS. There is a need to develop evidence about the optimal thresholds for defining caseness using the HADS.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disadvantaged groups are an important target for smoking cessation intervention. Smoking rates are markedly higher among severely socially disadvantaged groups such as indigenous people, the homeless, people with a mental illness or drug and alcohol addiction, and the unemployed than in the general population. This proposal aims to evaluate the efficacy of a client-centred, caseworker delivered cessation support intervention at increasing validated self reported smoking cessation rates in a socially disadvantaged population.
A block randomised controlled trial will be conducted. The setting will be a non-government organisation, Community Care Centre located in New South Wales, Australia which provides emergency relief and counselling services to predominantly government income assistance recipients. Eligible clients identified as smokers during a baseline touch screen computer survey will be recruited and randomised by a trained research assistant located in the waiting area. Allocation to intervention or control groups will be determined by time periods with clients randomised in one-week blocks. Intervention group clients will receive an intensive client-centred smoking cessation intervention offered by the caseworker over two face-to-face and two telephone contacts. There will be two primary outcome measures obtained at one, six, and 12 month follow-up: 1) 24-hour expired air CO validated self-reported smoking cessation and 2) 7-day self-reported smoking cessation. Continuous abstinence will also be measured at six and 12 months follow up.
This study will generate new knowledge in an area where the current information regarding the most effective smoking cessation approaches with disadvantaged groups is limited.
BMC Public Health 01/2011; 11(1):70. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A significant level of misreport or error occurs during questionnaire-based assessment of smoking behaviour. Failure to measure environmental tobacco smoke, and participant's inclination to under-report their smoking raise questions as to the accuracy of assessment. In order to establish an estimation of the possible error associated with such assessment, the accuracy of self-reported smoking status among a group of pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women was examined.
Women attending two Aboriginal Medical services in Far North Queensland for antenatal care were invited to participate. Women completed an interviewer assisted questionnaire relating to their smoking status and a 24 h diary of their exposure to nicotine and consumption of alcohol. Urine samples were analysed for cotinine using an Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay.
Cotinine analysis indicated that 17% of women who reported that they were non-smokers were likely to have misreported this status, or be exposed to high levels of passive smoke. The only significant predictors of cotinine level were self-reported nicotine exposure (including passive smoke) and number of cigarettes smoked in the previous 24 h. Other individual and environmental variables had no significant influence on cotinine level using this analysis technique.
The level of potential error in smoking assessment among this group was substantial. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke might explain part of this error, but the reasons for misreport can only be speculated. This rate of misclassification should be taken into consideration in routine screening of antenatal women in primary health care.
Drug and Alcohol Review 01/2010; 29(1):35-40. · 1.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many cancer patients experience unmet needs and elevated levels of anxiety and depression. This paper describes a volunteer-delivered intervention to reduce the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and presents findings from a feasibility study of this intervention.
The telephone-based intervention, called the Pathfinder Program, involves the assignment of volunteers to patients to assist them in addressing their needs as identified in questionnaires. Fifty-two patients with colorectal cancer were involved in the feasibility study, with 18 in the intervention. Sixty-two percent of the sample was male and the mean age was 64 years. Patients' needs were assessed using The Supportive Care Needs Survey, a colorectal cancer symptom checklist, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. All patients completed baseline questionnaires (Time 1) and 47 completed Time 2 questionnaires 3 months later.
The most common needs were fear of the cancer spreading and returning, concerns about the worries of others, gas or wind, changes in weight, and bowel problems such as diarrhea, constipation, and pain. A statistically significant Time 1 to Time 2 decrease in supportive care needs and depression was found for the intervention group.
The Pathfinder Program has been found to be feasible, acceptable for patients, and has the potential to reduce needs and depression. A larger, randomized controlled trial is needed to determine the impact of this program on colorectal symptoms and anxiety.
Supportive Care Cancer 04/2007; 15(3):293-9. · 2.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been growing recognition that health promotion programs which target whole communities are more likely to be effective in changing health behaviour. However, studies evaluating the impact of community- wide health promotion programs rarely use adequate methodology. Randomised control trials where multiple whole communities are randomly assigned to control and intervention groups are optimum if evaluators hope to validly attribute changes in health behaviour to the intervention. However, such trials present a number of difficulties including cost and feasibility limitations and the evolving nature of statistical techniques. This paper proposes applying a fairly well-accepted phased evaluation approach to the evaluation of community participa- tion programs, using three defined phases. Phase 1 consists of small-scale studies to develop the measures and assess acceptability and feasibility of the intervention; Phase 2 consists of studies in a small number of communities designed to trial the intervention in the real world; Phase 3 studies use an appropriate number of entire communities to provide valid evidence of efficacy of the intervention. It is suggested that criteria be resolved to identify adequate studies at each stage and that advantages and limitations of Phase 1 and 2 studies be clearly identified. The paper describes the major design, sampling and analysis considerations for a Phase 3 study.
Health Promotion International 09/1996; 11(3):227-236. · 1.94 Impact Factor