Group Psychotherapy of Dysfunctional Fear of Progression in Patients with Chronic Arthritis or Cancer

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany.
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (Impact Factor: 9.2). 01/2010; 79(1):31-8. DOI: 10.1159/000254903
Source: PubMed


This study investigated the effectiveness of brief psychotherapeutic group interventions in reducing dysfunctional fear of disease progression (FoP). The interventions comprised either cognitive-behavioral group therapy or supportive-experiential group therapy. We tested whether these generic interventions would prove effective in different illness types.
Chronic arthritis in- patients (n = 174) and cancer in-patients (n = 174), respectively, were randomized to receive one of the two interventions. The patients provided data before intervention, at discharge, and at 3 and 12 months of follow-up. FoP was the primary outcome, secondary outcomes were anxiety, depression and quality of life. A treatment-as-usual control group provided data on the primary outcome.
Patients with chronic arthritis indicated higher levels of FoP than cancer patients. The results revealed that, compared with no specialized intervention, both group therapies were effective in reducing dysfunctional FoP, but only among cancer patients. The effect sizes were 0.54 (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and 0.50 (supportive experiential therapy). The interventions were not differently effective in reducing the secondary outcomes.
Dysfunctional FoP can be effectively targeted with brief group interventions. Psychotherapeutic interventions for reducing FoP should focus on specific illness characteristics.

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Available from: Andreas Dinkel, Jan 18, 2014
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    • "Recently, there have been a growing number of studies investigating psychological interventions for FCR. Some of these treatments use verbal and/or written exposure to the worst fear as part of the treatment plan[26,27]. A better understanding of the content of worst fears could help refine current intervention protocols and guide future research in this area. "
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    • "Zum einen untersuchen wir soziodemografische und klinische Korrelate der Copingeffektivität, zum anderen gehen wir der Frage nach, inwieweit die Interventionen eine Veränderung der Copingeffektivität bei Krebspatienten bewirkten. Wenngleich die primäre Analyse (Herschbach et al., 2010 a, b) keinen differenziellen Effekt der Interventionen hinsichtlich der Reduktion von PA erbrachte, erwarten wir, dass die kognitiv-behaviorale Intervention aufgrund der expliziten Problemlöseorientierung zu einer deutlicheren Verbesserung der Copingeffektivität führen sollte als die supportiv-erfahrungsorientierte Intervention. "
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