Effects of a Video Sequence Based Intervention on Anxiety, Fatigue and Depression in Cancer Patients: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Author: Sven Neubert1, Sina Schlecht1, Karin Meng1, Antonia Rabe1, Elisabeth Jentschke1
1 University of Würzburg, Comprehensive Cancer Center Mainfranken, Würzburg, Germany.
Conference/Journal: Integr Cancer Ther
Date published: 2023 Jan-Dec
Other: Volume ID: 22 , Pages: 15347354231153172 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/15347354231153172. , Word Count: 273

Cancer patients often suffer from psychological symptoms and need psychological support. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, eHealth interventions might be helpful to overcome the obstacles of the pandemic. This study evaluates the effectiveness of a video sequence-based eHealth intervention on anxiety, fatigue, and depression in cancer patients.

Patients (N = 157) with different tumor entities were randomly assigned to the video intervention group (IG) and the waiting control group (CG). Patients in the IG received a video intervention comprising 8 video sequences over 4 weeks. The videos included psychoeducation on distress and psychological symptoms, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy elements, and Yoga and Qigong exercises. Patients' anxiety and fear of progression (primary outcomes) and secondary outcomes were assessed before randomization (T1) and after the end of the intervention for IG or the waiting period for CG (T2) using self-reported questionnaires (GAD-7, PA-F-KF, EORTC QLQ-FA12, PHQ-8).

Patients of the IG showed no significant improvement in anxiety (GAD-7; P = .75), fear of progression (FoP-Q-SF; P = .29), fatigue (EORTC QLQ-FA12; P = .72), and depression (PHQ-8; P = .95) compared to patients in the waiting CG. However, symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, and depression decreased in both groups. Exploratory subgroup analysis regarding sex, therapy status, therapy goal, and tumor entity showed no effects. Overall, the intervention had a high level of acceptance.

The video intervention was ineffective in reducing the psychological burden compared to a waiting CG. The findings support prior observations of the value of therapeutic guidance and promoting self-management for improving patients' psychological burdens. Further studies are required to evaluate the effectiveness of psycho-oncological eHealth delivered through video sequences.

Keywords: anxiety; complementary medicine; depression; eHealth; fatigue; mind-body-intervention; oncology; psycho-oncology; psychoeducation.

PMID: 36799503 DOI: 10.1177/15347354231153172