Naturalistic study on the effectiveness of psycho-oncological interventions in cancer patients and their partners

Barth, J.; Delfino, S.; Künzler, A. (2013). Naturalistic study on the effectiveness of psycho-oncological interventions in cancer patients and their partners. Supportive care in cancer, 21(6), pp. 1587-1595. Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00520-012-1700-8

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BACKGROUND There is evidence for the efficacy of psycho-oncological interventions (POI) in randomized controlled trials for cancer patients. Our objective was to explore, under naturalistic conditions (using propensity score matching), whether POI are effective to decrease anxiety, depression, distress and overall psychopathological symptoms within cancer patients and their partners. METHODS This study was conducted in the Oncology and Hematology Center of a University clinic in Switzerland with a group of 186 patients and 117 partners. Outcome measures of mental health were the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Symptom Checklist (SCL-9-K). Repeated-measures ANOVAs were used to analyze change over time and group effects between individuals with POI vs. without POI. RESULTS Highly distressed patients and their partners participating in POI reported better mental health over time. Among moderately distressed patients, a decrease over time emerged in depression and distress independent of POI. No effectiveness of POI could be demonstrated in moderately distressed patients and partners. CONCLUSION Most of the highly distressed patients receive additional POI and therefore conclusions about the efficacy of POI are difficult. For moderately distressed individuals, POI as implemented in Switzerland does not improve mental health in such patients and their partners, which may be caused by very time limited POI treatments. Studies with more intense POI treatments are needed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Barth, Jürgen and Künzler, Alfred


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Beatrice Minder Wyssmann

Date Deposited:

19 Feb 2014 14:56

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 23:43

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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