The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of the use of progressive muscle relaxation training (PMRT) on anxiety and quality of life in colorectal cancer patients after stoma surgery. A randomised controlled trial was used with repeated measures assessment over 10 weeks post-stoma surgery. Fifty-nine patients participated in the study and were randomised to a control group receiving routine care (n=30) and an experimental group receiving routine care and PMRT through two teaching sessions and practice at home for the first 10 weeks. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and two Quality of Life Scales were used to collect the data of interest in three occasions, namely during hospitalisation, at week 5 and at week 10 post-surgery. The use of PMRT significantly decreased state anxiety and improved generic quality of life in the experimental group (P<0.05), especially in the domains of physical health, psychological health, social concerns and environment. Social relationships decreased in both groups. In relation to the disease-specific quality of life measure, differences were observed only in the 10-week assessment, with the experimental group reporting better quality of life at 10 weeks, but not over time as compared to the control group. The use of PMRT should be incorporated in the long-term care of colorectal cancer patients, as it can improve their psychological health and quality of life. This may be a cost-effective intervention that needs minimal training and could easily be offered to those patients that they would like to use it as part of the specialist care provided to stoma patients.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.