The development of novel interventions to assist the leaders of cancer support groups

Support Care Cancer. 2012 Mar;20(3):445-54. doi: 10.1007/s00520-010-1072-x. Epub 2011 Jan 11.


Purpose: The literature on cancer support groups supports the provision of ongoing education and training for cancer support group leaders, with evidence suggesting that more skilled and experienced leaders create better outcomes for group members. To address support and training needs reported by leaders, three novel interventions were developed and pilot-tested. These included a leaders' website and discussion forum, DVD and manual, and a 2-day training workshop.

Methods: The interventions were developed using a combination of literature review, expert consensus, and consumer feedback. A convenience sample of ten leaders pilot-tested the Website and discussion forum. Using a mixed-method approach, evaluation of the workshop and the DVD and manual was conducted with 35 leaders.

Results: Overall, satisfaction with all aspects of the Website and discussion forum was high. Analysis of the quantitative data revealed extremely high satisfaction with the workshop and DVD and manual. The qualitative responses of workshop participants further supported the quantitative findings with enhanced knowledge, understanding, and confidence reported by leaders.

Conclusions: All three interventions exhibited a high degree of user acceptance, regardless of the skill or experience of the cancer support group leader. The overall positive findings from the evaluation of the leader Website and discussion forum, the DVD and manual, and the workshop for cancer support group leaders provides evidence to support more rigorous evaluation of these resources in a randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Resources / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Role Playing
  • Self-Help Groups / organization & administration*
  • Staff Development / methods*