Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Interventions in Patients Diagnosed with Cancer: A Systematic Review


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BAŞ S., DİRİK G.

STUDIES IN PSYCHOLOGY-PSIKOLOJI CALISMALARI DERGISI, vol.39, no.2, pp.459-485, 2019 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/sp2019-0025
  • Journal Name: STUDIES IN PSYCHOLOGY-PSIKOLOJI CALISMALARI DERGISI
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.459-485
  • Keywords: Cancer, acceptance and commitment therapy, psychological flexibility, systematic review, QUALITY-OF-LIFE, COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERVENTIONS, POTENTIAL UTILITY, ANXIETY, SURVIVORS, ACT, WOMEN, DEPRESSION
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: No

Abstract

Cancer is a serious disease that brings with it important psychological problems as well as the negative effects on the physical health of survivors. Nowadays, psychological treatments reveal effective results on reducing such negative symptoms. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) - one of the third wave behavioral and cognitive psychotherapies - is an important treatment approach in reducing the negative symptoms of cancer survivors. In particular, situations in which the disease itself and its adverse effects were accepted and the level of psychological flexibility was high were found to be associated with less negative symptoms and more positive outcomes such as adherence with the disease process. This study systemtically evaluated ACT based interventions on the psychological problems of cancer survivors. Fifteen studies that met the following criteria were examined in detail: using only a sample of cancer patients, having at least a pre-test and a post-test assessment, and an intervention involving basic components of ACT. The results showed that following the treatments, there were significant increases in psychological flexibility, posttraumatic growth, spirituality, quality of life and significant decreases in fear of recurrence, depression, anxiety, stress, emotional control, and thought suppression levels of patients when comparing both pre-treatment and control groups. Additionally, there were significant increases in mindfulness compared to pre-treatment results alone, but a significant decrease in pain and related symptoms, burnout, sleep problems and sedentary behaviors. ACT interventions, which can be applied both individually or in groups and over relatively short period of time, are promising as an alternative treatment for cancer patients to reduce their negative psychological symptoms as well as to increase their life expectancy and quality of life. However, in order to generalize the findings for different cancer patients and to increase the confidence of intervention, future studies should be more controlled, reliable and long-term.