Evaluating the Framed Portrait Experience as an Intervention to Enhance Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem in a Sample of Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors: Results of a Pilot Study

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2020 Feb;9(1):111-114. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2019.0063. Epub 2019 Nov 19.


Cancer diagnosis and treatments negatively affect quality of life and developmental processes of adolescents and young adults (AYAs), with self-esteem, self-efficacy, and body image discomfort reported. Despite increasing awareness of the psychosocial issues experienced by this group, a paucity of psychosocial interventions has been developed. This study aims to investigate the Framed Portrait Experience (FPE) as an intervention to promote well-being among AYA cancer survivors. A pilot study was conducted using a quasi-experimental design. The sample included 18 AYA leukemia survivors. Individuals in the intervention group (n = 10) participated in the FPE, a psychosocial program consisting of two sessions. In the first one, starting from the illness narrative recollected by the individual, pictures representing the subject in meaningful contexts are taken. Then, a selected number of pictures are used in a second encounter with a therapist to integrate the disease within past, present, and future of the participant. Survivors in the comparison group (n = 8) were offered usual psychosocial care at the participating institute. Measures of personality traits, coping, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and body image were compared at pre-test and 3 months later. Significant differences in self-efficacy and self-esteem scores were identified at post-test between the intervention and comparison group (p < 0.05). No significant differences were identified for body self-esteem. These findings provide initial evidence supporting the FPE as a low-cost and easy-to-implement intervention to promote self-efficacy and self-esteem among AYA survivors. Further research with larger samples, with more rigorous designs, and different cancer types is needed.

Keywords: adolescent and young adults; cancer; psychosocial intervention; self-efficacy; survivorship.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Portraits as Topic / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Young Adult