Background: Women at risk for breast cancer report elevated psychological distress, which has been adversely associated with cancer-relevant behaviors and biology.
Purpose: The present study sought to examine the effects of a 10-week cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) group intervention on distress among women with a family history of breast cancer.
Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to CBSM (N = 82) or a wait-list comparison group (N = 76). Baseline to postintervention effects of CBSM on depressive symptoms and perceived stress were examined using hierarchical regression.
Results: CBSM participants reported significantly lower posttreatment depressive symptoms (β = -0.17, p < 0.05) and perceived stress (β = -0.23, p < 0.05) than wait-list comparison participants. Additionally, greater relaxation practice predicted lower distress.
Conclusions: Group-based CBSM intervention is feasible and can reduce psychological distress among women with a family history of breast cancer. The present findings represent an encouraging avenue for the future application of CBSM. ( Clinicaltrials.gov number NCT00121160).
Keywords: Breast neoplasms risk; Cognitive behavioral stress management; Distress; Female; Group psychotherapy; Relaxation practice.