A supportive-expressive group intervention for women with a family history of breast cancer: results of a phase II study

Psychooncology. 2000 May-Jun;9(3):243-52. doi: 10.1002/1099-1611(200005/06)9:3<243::aid-pon457>3.0.co;2-i.


Background: Evidence suggests that there are significant psychological and behavioural sequelae associated with having a family history of breast cancer (BC) which can interfere with comprehension of risk estimates.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to develop, standardize and do preliminary testing of a group intervention designed to address the emotional impact of having a family history of BC.

Methods: This study is a single-arm pilot design with pre- and post-measures of perceived risk, psychosocial distress, knowledge and screening practices.

Results: The primary study outcome measure of risk comprehension was significantly improved by 70%, according to our predetermined criteria for success. In addition, the most important secondary measures of psychosocial functioning, such as cancer-related distress (p=0.025), depression (p=0.05), anxiety (p=0.005) and unresolved grief (p=0.034) were significantly improved.

Conclusion: The results of this initial pilot study are encouraging; however, further research is required, using a randomized controlled study design to evaluate the relative contribution of this intervention to the successful modification of risk comprehension, enhanced psychological functioning, and to promote optimal screening adherence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Adjustment
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires