Mitch Golant

Cancer Support Community, Washington, Washington, D.C., United States

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Publications (23)41.4 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The objective was to test the discriminatory power of a 25-item distress screening tool for use among cancer survivors. We used a measure of item discrimination to determine which items perform better than others at identifying those at greatest risk of distress.
    Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Primary Care Providers (PCPs) can be instrumental in helping to prepare patients for referral to cancer treatment. It has been suggested that PCPs can have an important impact on priming patients about the possibility of receiving care within a cancer treatment clinical trial (CCT). However, little is understood about how to effectively engage primary care providers in educating patients about trials. Data were collected as part of two qualitative research projects about primary care providers' role in referral to treatment and to CCTs. Participants were 27 PCPs who agreed to take part in qualitative face-to-face or telephone interviews and serve predominantly underserved, minority populations. Interviews identified a number of factors influencing referral to oncologists, including patients' insurance coverage, location and proximity to treatment facilities, and the strength of ongoing relationships with and/or previous experience with a specialist. PCPs overwhelmingly expressed disinterest in discussing any treatment options, including CCTs. Misconceptions about quality of care received through trials were also common, presenting a deterrent to discussion. PCPs need targeted, evidence-based educational interventions to appropriately address their concerns about cancer clinical trials, enhance provider communication skills, and alter patient referral behavior. Steps must also be taken to strengthen communication between oncologists and referring PCPs.
    Journal of Cancer Education 05/2014; · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatments improve and patients live longer, it is important to develop interventions to help patients live fuller lives. We sought to identify key components of quality of life (QOL) in determining therapeutic decision making and overall value of life extension in patients with NSCLC.
    The Journal of community and supportive oncology. 01/2014; 12(1):6-12.
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    ABSTRACT: The Cancer Support Community (CSC) provides psychosocial support to people facing cancer in community settings. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the compatibility, effectiveness, and fidelity of the Situation-Choices-Objectives-People-Evaluation-Decisions (SCOPED) question-listing intervention at three CSC sites. Between August 2008 and August 2011, the Program Director at each CSC site implemented question-listing, while measuring patient distress, anxiety, and self-efficacy before and after each intervention. We analyzed the quantitative results using unadjusted statistical tests and reviewed qualitative comments by patients and the case notes of Program Directors to assess compatibility and fidelity. Program Directors implemented question-listing with 77 blood cancer patients. Patients reported decreased distress (p = 0.009) and anxiety (p = 0.005) and increased self-efficacy (p < 0.001). Patients and Program Directors endorsed the intervention as compatible with CSC's mission and approach and feasible to implement with high fidelity. CSC effectively translated SCOPED question-listing into practice in the context of its community-based psychosocial support services at three sites.
    Translational behavioral medicine. 06/2013; 3(2):162-71.
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    ABSTRACT: Psychological distress has been recognized as having a significant effect upon cognitive and emotional functioning, quality of life, and in some populations increased costs of care. Screening for distress and provision of psychosocial care in oncology treatment settings has been identified as a future accreditation standard by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). Because there are few available models of programs of distress screening and referral to inform oncology social workers and other members of the psychosocial support team with planning their own programs, this article seeks to provide exemplars of best practices that are currently in place in four different settings where psychosocial support is provided to people living with cancer and their families. Each program will provide an overview of how it was successfully established and its contribution toward evolving evidence-informed best practices.
    Journal of Psychosocial Oncology 11/2012; 30(6):694-714. · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: The purpose was to test the psychometric properties of a 36-item community-based problem-related distress screening tool, among 319 cancer survivors recruited across 14 affiliates of the Cancer Support Community. METHODS: Internal reliability was estimated using Cronbach's alpha coefficient. Test-retest reliability was assessed using the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). Concurrent validity was determined by correlations with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General Well-Being Scale (FACT-G), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and the Distress Thermometer (DT) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis using the CES-D (≥16) and DT (≥4) as the criterion. Non-parametric analysis of variance was used to establish discriminant validity. RESULTS: The distress screener demonstrated high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.91) and strong test-retest reliability (ICC ≥ 0.75). Summary scores of the distress screener correlated substantially with the FACT-G (R(2)  = 0.58, p < 0.001), CES-D (R(2)  = 0.48, p < 0.001), and DT (R(2)  = 0.35, p < 0.001) indicating strong concurrent validity and were able to discriminate groups of clinical relevance. ROC analyses showed a cutoff score of 8 for problem items rated ≥3 had optimal sensitivity and specificity relative to the CES-D and DT. CONCLUSIONS: The distress screener shows strong psychometric properties and can be considered a valuable community-based instrument to screen for psychological distress related to social, emotional, physical, and other patient-related symptoms and problems. This study is the first to address the chasm between hospital and community-based screening by validating a community-based instrument and has begun to demonstrate the feasibility of screening in the community. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 06/2012; · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Internet can increase access to psychosocial care for breast cancer survivors through online support groups. This study will test a novel prosocial online group that emphasizes both opportunities for getting and giving help. Based on the helper therapy principle, it is hypothesized that the addition of structured helping opportunities and coaching on how to help others online will increase the psychological benefits of a standard online group. A two-armed randomized controlled trial with pretest and posttest. Non-metastatic breast cancer survivors with elevated psychological distress will be randomized to either a standard facilitated online group or to a prosocial facilitated online group, which combines online exchanges of support with structured helping opportunities (blogging, breast cancer outreach) and coaching on how best to give support to others. Validated and reliable measures will be administered to women approximately one month before and after the interventions. Self-esteem, positive affect, and sense of belonging will be tested as potential mediators of the primary outcomes of depressive/anxious symptoms and sense of purpose in life. This study will test an innovative approach to maximizing the psychological benefits of cancer online support groups. The theory-based prosocial online support group intervention model is sustainable, because it can be implemented by private non-profit or other organizations, such as cancer centers, which mostly offer face-to-face support groups with limited patient reach. NCT01396174.
    BMC Cancer 08/2011; 11:379. · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Counsellor familiarity and engagement with technology-mediated communication represents an important factor in the ability to implement support programs to cancer patients. This study describes the experiences of a cohort of expert psycho-oncology counsellors who learned to facilitate online support groups (OSGs) and identifies the important elements of their learning experience that led to their engagement. PROCEDURE AND METHOD: Six psycho-oncology counsellors were trained to facilitate OSGs and later facilitated OSGs in their own practice context. They subsequently reflected on and discussed their experiences with OSGs over time: in a panel discussion within 6 months of training, and in two focus groups. A participatory method was used to describe and interpret key elements of the learning process. Three themes of the counsellors' learning experience emerged: immersion in experiential learning, perceptions of clinical value and benefit, and overcoming challenges with adapted skills. Counsellors described components of their experiential learning: co-facilitating online cancer support groups with an expert, debriefing online, and participating in an online peer supervision group, as critical to their becoming engaged. Despite initial challenges, the counsellors learned new skills, and adapted known clinical skills, to the text-only environment. With appropriate training and practice over time, counsellors familiar with delivering face-to-face support groups to cancer patients became skilled and engaged in leading OSG's for cancer patients. Learning to facilitate OSGs shifted practice by significantly expanding the scope of services they were able to provide their patients and has implications for expanding access to support services.
    Psycho-Oncology 08/2011; 20(8):832-40. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accurately detecting emotional expression in women with primary breast cancer participating in support groups may be important for therapists and researchers. In 2 small studies (N = 20 and N = 16), the authors examined whether video coding, human text coding, and automated text analysis provided consistent estimates of the level of emotional expression. In Study 1, the authors compared coding from videotapes and text transcripts of face-to-face groups. In Study 2, the authors examined transcripts of online synchronous groups. The authors found that human text coding significantly overestimated Positive Affect and underestimated Defensive/Hostile Affect compared with video coding. They found correlations were low for Positive Affect but moderate for negative affect between Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) and video coding. The implications of utilizing text-only detection of emotion are discussed.
    Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 07/2008; 76(3):517-23. · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The primary aim of the study was to identify specific strengths and challenges of facilitating online cancer support groups relative to face-to-face groups through the use of deductive qualitative analysis. A secondary aim was to quantitatively validate the identified strengths and challenges. To better understand how facilitators' roles in online support groups (OSGs) might differ from face-to-face (F2F) support groups, we compared the professional experiences of facilitators from both F2F and OSGs at The Wellness Community. Transcripts from online supervision sessions among OSG facilitators were analyzed using deductive qualitative analysis. A pool of items was developed to measure the primary themes derived from the qualitative analysis and administered to a sample of both F2F and online cancer support group facilitators. Strengths and weaknesses of online support group leaders could be captured in three categories: group processes, structural elements, and facilitator roles. Positive perceptions of group processes, structural elements, and facilitator roles were significantly higher among F2F facilitators than OSG facilitators. OSG facilitators described their online groups as helpful to participants and identified some aspects of online groups that promoted more active processing of cancer experiences among group participants. Additionally, they reported that learning how to facilitate an online group strengthened their skills in facilitating face-to-face groups. However, OSGs do appear to present significant challenges to facilitation. These challenges are discussed with particular attention given to ways in which online facilitators have developed "work-arounds" for addressing shortcomings of the internet as a medium for delivering psychosocial services.
    Psycho-Oncology 06/2008; 18(2):144-55. · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Emotional expression and cognitive efforts to adapt to cancer have been linked to better psychological adjustment. However, little is known about the relationship between linguistic indicators of emotional and cognitive coping efforts and corresponding self-report measures of related constructs. In this study, we sought to evaluate the interrelationships between self-reports of emotional suppression and linguistic indicators of emotional and cognitive coping efforts in those living with cancer. Seventy-one individuals attending a community cancer support group completed measures of emotional suppression and mood disturbance and provided a written narrative describing their cancer experience. Self-reports of emotional suppression were associated with more rather than less distress. Although linguistic indicators of both emotional expression and cognitive processing were generally uncorrelated with self-report measures of emotional suppression and mood disturbance, a significant interaction was observed between emotional suppression and use of cognitive words on mood disturbance. Among those using higher levels of emotional suppression, increasing use of cognitive words was associated with greater levels of mood disturbance. These findings have implications for a) the therapeutic use of emotion in psychosocial interventions and b) the use of computer-assisted technologies to conduct content analysis.
    Journal of Behavioral Medicine 09/2006; 29(4):335-45. · 3.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We hypothesized that (a) members of homogeneous Parkinson's disease (PD) Internet groups would show more commitment and attraction than heterogeneous groups and (b) members in homogeneous groups would show better outcomes. Six PD support groups, three heterogeneous and 3 homogeneous groups were composed on the basis of age and time since diagnosis. Cohesion, based on commitment and attraction, was measured using text analysis software measuring (a) the frequency of hope, positive feelings and thoughts, and affection linked to group as a target and (b) the frequency of "we," "our," and other words of inclusion. Pre-post changes were measured by depression, quality of life, and severity of PD. Multivariate analysis found that homogeneously composed groups were significantly more attracted and committed to their groups. A repeated measures multivariate analysis found that homogeneous groups showed significantly greater positive changes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
    Group Dynamics Theory Research and Practice 11/2005; 9(4):239-250. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: (A) Will PD patients participate in online, professionally led support groups? (B) What are their demographics characteristics and PD severity? (C) Are such groups beneficial? (D) Should patients be grouped for stage of disease? Depression and quality of life were assessed. Sixty-six people were assigned to a 20-week, professionally facilitated online support group. Participants were assigned to one of 2 group types based on patient similarity: homogeneous and heterogeneous. PD patients appear to readily enroll in online groups. Compared to PD patients in traditional support groups, the online were younger, less depressed and had higher quality of life. Dropouts (39%) were high. Overall, patients showed improved quality of life; no overall changes were observed in depression. Participants in the homogenous groups reported a significant decrease in depression.
    Social Work in Health Care 02/2005; 42(2):23-38. · 0.62 Impact Factor
  • International Journal of Self Help and Self Care 01/2005; 2(3):219-235.
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the relationship between cancer support groups' normative regulation and patient outcomes. Cancer patients (N = 289) in 54 groups were studied through the use of a cross-sectional, treatment dosage design. Outcomes were assessed by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy, a quality of life measure commonly used in studies of cancer patients. The framework for assessing normative regulations was based on the degree to which patients matched leader norms. This approach to indexing members' perceptions of normative regulations proved to be a successful strategy. The more a participant view matched those of the leaders, the greater the likelihood they benefited from the group. The content of the norms added an independent effect on positive outcomes. Participants who saw their groups as approving of aggressive-competitive behaviors and the intense expression of emotions were less likely to show positive outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
    Group Dynamics Theory Research and Practice 11/2004; 8(4):265-276. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite advances in the treatment of many side effects associated with chemotherapy, alopecia remains an issue that is difficult to resolve. Chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA) is a condition that can have profound psychosocial and quality-of-life consequences, resulting in anxiety, depression, a negative body image, lowered self-esteem, and a reduced sense of well-being. Patients who fear CIA may sometimes select regimens with less favorable outcomes or may refuse treatment. When supporting patients with CIA, health care providers should use an individualized approach with a focus placed on the actual moment of hair loss. Education, support groups, and self-care strategies are important components of any management approach. No treatment modality for preventing CIA has been clearly shown to be effective. Recent evidence suggests that new scalp hypothermic regimens may be safe and effective. There remains a critical need for effective new approaches to this problem.
    Supportive Care Cancer 09/2004; 12(8):543-9. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this cross-sectional study, we tested whether the coping styles of emotional suppression and fighting spirit were associated with mood disturbance in cancer patients participating in professionally led community-based support groups even when demographic, medical, and group support variables were taken into account. A heterogeneous sample of 121 cancer patients (71% female, 29% male) completed the Courtauld Emotional Control Scale (CECS), the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (Mini-MAC), a measure of perceived group support, and the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Consistent with hypotheses, lower emotional suppression and greater adoption of a fighting spirit, in addition to older age and higher income, were associated with lower mood disturbance. Gender, time since diagnosis, presence of metastatic disease, time in the support group, perceived group support, cognitive avoidance, and fatalism were unrelated to mood disturbance. Expression of negative affect and an attitude of realistic optimism may enhance adjustment and reduce distress for cancer patients in support groups.
    Journal of Psychosomatic Research 12/2003; 55(5):461-7. · 3.27 Impact Factor
  • Mitch Golant, Tamara Altman, Chloe Martin
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to develop and pilot test a community-based education program that addresses the prevention and management of the major side effects of cancer and its treatment according to a Patient Active Empowerment Model. This piloted program evaluated the health and quality of life outcomes for patients with cancer. The program was implemented through a half-day patient education conference. This conference included clinical information concerning disease and treatment-related side effects, an overview of treatment methods, information to help improve communication between the patient and healthcare team, education materials and experiences to empower patients and caregivers, and integration of specific mind-body techniques to strengthen key educational messages and reinforce the importance of side effect management. A total of 32 patients completed both the program and psychometric assessments on the day of the intervention and 30 days later. The participants were primarily white women with an average age of 57 years. Breast cancer was the most prevalent type of cancer experienced by the participants. The pilot results for this small sample showed that from baseline to follow-up evaluation, patients reported significant decreases in depressive symptoms and problems with work or other daily activities that resulted from emotional distress. Some improvements in health and well-being were greater for those who had not experienced fever or infection, those who had no children, and those who were working. Participants indicated that the program was useful in its ability to help them manage treatment side effects. Although the findings presented in this article are based only on a pilot program evaluation and a small sample, they do suggest that the program may be effective in educating patients about specific cancer side effects and empowering them to cope more effectively with their illness. Results showing that subgroups of individuals may have benefited more from the intervention provide important information about specific components of the program that may be particularly salient and potential changes that might be usefully implemented.
    Cancer Nursing 03/2003; 26(1):37-44; quiz 45-6. · 1.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A recent Pew Charitable Trust study found that 52,000,000 individuals used the Internet to obtain health/medical information. Clinical trials of face-to-face breast carcinoma support groups show evidence of 1) improvement in quality of life, 2) reduction of psychologic symptoms, 3) improvement in coping responses, and 4) a reduction in pain. To the authors' knowledge, a few studies published to date have investigated Internet-delivered electronic support groups (ESGs) for cancer. The most sophisticated is the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS) program, which provides integrated information, referral, and a newsgroup-based social support program. However, to the authors' knowledge, no studies published to date have examined the impact of a breast carcinoma ESG in a clinical trial. Sixty-seven women completed the initial baseline questionnaires, 32 of whom accepted the authors' invitation and began the groups. With regard to geographic location, 49% lived in rural/small towns, 41% lived in medium-sized cities, and 10% lived in large cities. Diagnostic stages of disease were: Stage I, 22%; Stage II, 56%; Stage III, 12%; and other forms, 10%. There were 4 intervention groups, of which 8 participants led by trained Wellness Community (TWC) (a national agency) leaders met for 1.5 hours once a week for 16 weeks. Student t tests for paired outcome data were computed using baseline and postgroup scores. The results of the current study indicated that breast carcinoma patients significantly reduced depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression [CES-D] scale) and Reactions to Pain. They also demonstrated a trend toward increases on The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) in two subscales: New Possibilities and Spirituality. Counterintuitively, breast carcinoma patients appeared to demonstrate an increase in emotional suppression. Postinterview results indicated that approximately 67% of patients found the group to be beneficial. Those who withdrew from the groups (20%) demonstrated low scores in their ability to contain anxiety and appeared to be more likely to suppress their thoughts and feelings regarding their illness. The findings of the current study are encouraging, particularly because it was conducted through TWC, a national agency willing to make this type of intervention readily available at no cost. A limitation of the current study was the lack of randomization and a control group comparison. Although the authors were not able to demonstrate effectiveness without the addition of a control condition, the analysis of pregroup and postgroup outcomes suggests that a randomized trial is worthwhile. Women with a devastating disease will join and commit themselves to an online support group. In addition, because a large percentage of these women were from rural locations, this type of intervention may hold promise for those who have limited access to support groups.
    Cancer 03/2003; 97(4):920-5. · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective In this cross-sectional study, we tested whether the coping styles of emotional suppression and fighting spirit were associated with mood disturbance in cancer patients participating in professionally led community-based support groups even when demographic, medical, and group support variables were taken into account.
    Journal of Psychosomatic Research - J PSYCHOSOM RES. 01/2003; 55(5):461-467.

Publication Stats

364 Citations
41.40 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2013
    • Cancer Support Community
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
    • Treatment Research Institute, Philadelphia PA
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2003–2013
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Psychiatry
      San Francisco, California, United States
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
      Stanford, CA, United States
  • 2006–2008
    • Loma Linda University
      • Department of Psychology
      Loma Linda, CA, United States
  • 2003–2006
    • Santa Monica Community College District
      Santa Monica, California, United States