Randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavioral stress management in breast cancer: a brief report of effects on 5-year depressive symptoms

Health Psychol. 2015 Feb;34(2):176-80. doi: 10.1037/hea0000125. Epub 2014 Jul 28.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Survivors / psychology