Objectives: This study aimed to examine the effects of reflexology based on Watson's theory of human caring on anxiety, depression, and quality of life in gynecological cancer patients.
Material and methods: The study was a prospective, single-blind, randomized controlled trial with a pretest-posttest and a control group. The clinical trial was conducted at a university hospital in the Aegean region between October 2016 and June 2018. It was completed with 62 women, of whom 31 were in the intervention group and 31 were in the control group. Data were collected by using a personal information form, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30-version 3.0.
Results: Anxiety and depression levels were lower in the intervention group than in the control group. Besides, the quality of life was higher in the intervention group than in the control group. Reflexology significantly reduced symptoms due to chemotherapy, such as fatigue, pain, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Although there was a decrease in symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation immediately after reflexology, an increase in symptoms was observed in the intervention group two weeks later.
Conclusion: These results showed that reflexology based on Watson's theory of human caring is effective in reduction of anxiety and depression and improves the quality of life in gynecological cancer patients during chemotherapy. It can be suggested that offering reflexology at certain intervals during chemotherapy will increase the duration of its effect.
Keywords: Anxiety; Cancer; Depression; Nursing; Quality of life; Reflexology.
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