A Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Adolescents and Young Adults After Cancer Treatment: Effects on Quality of Life, Emotional Distress, and Cognitive Vulnerability.

Author: Van der Gucht K1, Takano K1, Labarque V2, Vandenabeele K2, Nolf N3, Kuylen S4, Cosyns V5, Van Broeck N1, Kuppens P1, Raes F1
11 Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Leuven , Leuven, Belgium .
22 Department of Pediatric Hemato-Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven , Leuven, Belgium .
33 Department of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Ghent University Hospital , Ghent, Belgium .
44 Paediatric Haematology, Oncology and HIV, Antwerp University Hospital , Edegem, Belgium .
55 Medical Oncology & Haematology KZ, Brussel University Hospital , Jette, Belgium .
Conference/Journal: J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol.
Date published: 2016 Dec 21
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1089/jayao.2016.0070. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 200

PURPOSE: Adolescent and young adult cancer (AYAC) survivors show an elevated risk of distress. Targeted psychosocial interventions for this distinct population are needed. This study examined the potential efficacy of a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) to alleviate emotional distress and improve quality of life (QoL) in AYAC survivors.

METHODS: Participants were 16 AYAC survivors, aged 14-24, who had completed acute medical treatment. A two-baseline (8 and 1 week before the intervention), post- (1 week after the intervention) and 3 months follow-up within-subjects design was used. Each participant completed two baseline assessments, followed by an 8-week MBI. The primary outcome variables were emotional distress and QoL. Secondary outcomes were cognitive vulnerability factors and mindfulness skills.

RESULTS: Multilevel modeling showed (1) a significant reduction in emotional distress and improvement in QoL at 3 months of follow-up, (2) a significant reduction in negative attitudes toward self (i.e., a cognitive vulnerability factor), and (3) a significant improvement in mindfulness skills.

CONCLUSION: MBI is a promising approach that is used to treat emotional distress and to improve QoL in AYAC survivors. Further research using randomized controlled trials is needed to generalize these findings. Trial registration information: www.trialregister.nl ; NTR4358.

KEYWORDS: cognitive vulnerability; emotional distress; mindfulness; open trial; quality of life

PMID: 28002681 DOI: 10.1089/jayao.2016.0070