Objective: Survivors of breast cancer experience stress and are at risk for depressive symptoms following primary treatment. Group-based interventions such as cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) delivered postsurgery for nonmetastatic breast cancer (BCa) were previously associated with fewer depressive symptoms over a 12-month follow-up; few studies have examined the longer-term benefits of such psychosocial interventions. This 5-year follow-up study of a previously conducted trial (#NCT01422551) tested whether group-based CBSM following surgery for nonmetastatic BCa was associated with fewer depressive symptoms.
Methods: Women (N = 240) with Stage 0-IIIb BCa were recruited 2-10 weeks postsurgery and randomized to a 10-week CBSM intervention group or a 1-day psycho-educational control group. Women were recontacted 5 years poststudy enrollment and reconsented to participate in the follow-up study (N = 130). Depressive symptomatology was assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). ANOVA and ANCOVA analyses were employed to test for group differences on the CES-D at 5-year follow-up accounting for relevant covariates.
Results: Participants assigned to CBSM reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms (M = 9.99, SE = 0.93) at the follow-up compared with those in the control group (M = 12.97, SE = 0.99), p = .030. With covariates, the group difference remained significant, p = .012.
Conclusion: Women who received CBSM postsurgery for BCa reported fewer depressive symptoms than those in the control group in this 5-year follow-up. Psychosocial interventions early in treatment may influence long-term psychological well-being in BCa survivors.