Long-term effects of educational and peer discussion group interventions on adjustment to breast cancer

Health Psychol. 2001 Sep;20(5):387-92. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.20.5.387.


The authors report a 3-year follow-up of the effects of 8-week support group interventions on the quality of life of women with early stage breast cancer. Shortly after diagnosis, women were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 conditions: control, education, peer discussion, and education plus peer discussion. The education group intervention focused on providing information to enhance control over the illness experience, whereas the peer discussion group intervention focused on providing emotional support through the expression of feelings. Consistent with the results that emerged 6 months after the interventions (V. S. Helgeson, S. Cohen, R. Schulz, & J. Yasko, 1999), the authors found that the benefits of the education intervention were maintained over a 3-year period (N=252), although effects dissipated with time. The authors continued to find no benefits of the peer discussion intervention, either alone or in combination with education.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Peer Group*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self-Help Groups*