A randomized trial of the effect of training in relaxation and guided imagery techniques in improving psychological and quality-of-life indices for gynecologic and breast brachytherapy patients

Psychooncology. 2007 Nov;16(11):971-9. doi: 10.1002/pon.1171.


Purpose: The randomized study aimed to determine the efficacy of psychological intervention consisting of relaxation and guided imagery to reduce anxiety and depression in gynecologic and breast cancer patients undergoing brachytherapy during hospitalization.

Methods and materials: Sixty-six patients programmed to receive brachytherapy in two hospitals in Barcelona (Spain) were included in this study. The patients were randomly allocated to either the study group (n=32) or the control group (n=34). Patients in both groups received training regarding brachytherapy, but only study group patients received training in relaxation and guided imagery. After collection of sociodemographic data, all patients were given a set of questionnaires on anxiety and depression: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and on quality of life: Cuestionario de Calidad de Vida QL-CA-AFex (CCV), prior to, during and after brachytherapy.

Results: The study group demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in anxiety (p=0.008), depression (p=0.03) and body discomfort (p=0.04) compared with the control group.

Conclusions: The use of relaxation techniques and guided imagery is effective in reducing the levels of anxiety, depression and body discomfort in patients who must remain isolated while undergoing brachytherapy. This simple and inexpensive intervention enhances the psychological wellness in patients undergoing brachytherapy.State: This study has passed Ethical Committee review.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brachytherapy / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Spain