Facilitation of self-transcendence in a breast cancer support group

Author: Coward DD
Conference/Journal: Oncol Nurs Forum
Date published: 1998
Other: Volume ID: 25 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 75-84 , Word Count: 243

To examine the feasibility and patterns of effectiveness of a breast cancer support group intervention specifically designed to facilitate self-transcendence views and perspectives that would enhance emotional and physical well-being. DESIGN: Pre-experimental design pilot intervention study with a quantitative approach to data analysis. SETTING: Survivor-established breast cancer resource center in Austin, TX. SAMPLE: Women with recently diagnosed breast cancer (N = 16) participating in 90-minute support group sessions that met weekly for eight weeks. METHODS: Theory-driven support group intervention facilitated by an oncology clinical nurse specialist, a psychotherapist, and a breast cancer survivor. Activities planned for individual sessions were based on self-transcendence theory, cancer support group literature, and the facilitators' extensive previous support group experience. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Self-transcendence, emotional well-being, physical well-being. FINDINGS: Good networking, coordination, and follow-up were essential for participant recruitment and retention throughout the intervention period. Although specific theory-driven activities were planned for group sessions, facilitators maintained flexibility in meeting immediate concerns of the participants. Relationships among participants' scores on study variables indicated an association between self-transcendence and emotional well-being. Scores on self-transcendence and well-being variables at the end of the intervention increased from baseline, but only functional performance status, mood state, and satisfaction with life reached statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: The pilot study was invaluable in providing direction for the conduct of future experimental studies. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Provides preliminary support for the use of theory-driven activities for promotion of self-transcendence views and behaviors within a cancer support group setting.