Cognitive-behavioral stress management increases benefit finding and immune function among women with early-stage breast cancer

J Psychosom Res. 2004 Jan;56(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3999(03)00036-9.


Objective: This study examined the effect of a cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) intervention on emotional well-being and immune function among women in the months following surgery for early-stage breast cancer.

Method: Twenty-nine women were randomly assigned to receive either a 10-week CBSM intervention (n=18) or a comparison experience (n=11). The primary psychological outcome measure was benefit finding. The primary immune function outcome measure was in vitro lymphocyte proliferative response to anti CD3.

Results: Women in the CBSM intervention reported greater perceptions of benefit from having breast cancer compared to the women in the comparison group. At 3-month follow-up, women in the CBSM group also had improved lymphocyte proliferation. Finally, increases in benefit finding after the 10-week intervention predicted increases in lymphocyte proliferation at the 3-month follow-up.

Conclusion: A CBSM intervention for women with early-stage breast cancer facilitated positive emotional responses to their breast cancer experience in parallel with later improvement in cellular immune function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*


  • Antigens, CD