Evaluation of the making sense of brain tumor program: a randomized controlled trial of a home-based psychosocial intervention

Psychooncology. 2015 May;24(5):540-7. doi: 10.1002/pon.3687. Epub 2014 Sep 23.


Objective: Despite significant psychosocial morbidity, there are few controlled trials of psychological support for people with brain tumor. This study evaluated the efficacy of the Making Sense of Brain Tumor (MSoBT) program, a home-based psychosocial intervention.

Design: A randomized controlled trial with a wait list condition

Methods: Fifty participants aged 17-82 years with brain tumor (54% benign) were randomly allocated to immediate treatment (n = 27) or a waitlist (n = 23). Measures included Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), McGill Quality of Life (MQOL) Questionnaire, Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Brain (FACT-Br). The immediate treatment group received the 10-session MSoBT program, while the waitlist group received usual care for 10 weeks and were then re-assessed before receiving the MSoBT program. A 6-month post-intervention follow-up was conducted.

Results: Analysis of covariance adjusting for baseline functioning identified that the immediate treatment group reported significantly lower levels of depression on the MADRS (η(p)(2) = .19) and higher levels of existential well-being on the MQOL (η(p)(2) = .13) and functional well-being (η(p)(2) = .21) and global quality of life on the FACT-Br (η(p)(2) = .12) at post-assessment than the waitlist group. At 6-month follow-up participants reported significantly lower levels of depression and stress and higher existential well-being and quality of life relative to pre-intervention.

Conclusions: The MSoBT program appears to have efficacy for enhancing psychological well-being and quality of life after brain tumor.

Keywords: brain tumor; cancer; mental health; oncology; quality of life; randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult