Storytelling intervention for patients with cancer: part 2--pilot testing

Oncol Nurs Forum. 2008 Mar;35(2):265-72. doi: 10.1188/08.ONF.265-272.


Purpose/objectives: To evaluate symptom reports and the impact of a nurse-led storytelling intervention in a supportive group setting on mood, stress level, coping with stress, pain, self-efficacy, and satisfaction with life in patients with cancer.

Design: Descriptive pilot project using a pretest/post-test control group.

Setting: Local regional medical center in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Sample: Convenience sample of 10 patients with various cancer diagnoses; 7 completed the intervention.

Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to a storytelling or control group. Using a tool kit generated for this project, a nurse facilitator guided storytelling group participants in 12 1.5-hour sessions. Six instruments, symptom assessments, and a retrospective physician chart review were completed for each group. Data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance.

Main research variables: Mood, stress, coping, pain, self-efficacy, and satisfaction with life.

Findings: Comparison of changes in group mean scores revealed a significant decrease in anxiety in the storytelling group despite disease progression. Documentation of psychosocial symptomatology by physicians is limited; however, nursing assessments were useful in determining psychosocial status before and after the intervention.

Conclusions: Results can be viewed only in context of a feasibility study and are not generalizable because of a limited sample size. A trained oncology nurse was able to use the storytelling intervention. Initial results are promising and warrant further study.

Implications for nursing: After additional testing, the intervention could be used to enhance storytelling groups for patients with cancer or for individuals who are uncomfortable in or do not have access to storytelling groups.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration*
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Oncology Nursing / methods*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology