Differential psychological effects of cognitive-behavioral stress management among breast cancer patients with high and low initial cancer-specific distress.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) improves adaptation to primary treatment for breast cancer (BCa), evidenced as reductions in distress and increases in positive affect. Because not all BCa patients may need psychosocial intervention, identifying those most likely to benefit is important. A secondary analysis of a previous randomized trial tested whether baseline level of cancer-specific distress moderated CBSM effects on adaptation over 12 months. We hypothesized that patients experiencing the greatest cancer-specific distress in the weeks after surgery would show the greatest CBSM-related effects on distress and affect.


Stages 0-III BCa patients (N = 240) were enrolled 2-8 weeks after surgery and randomized to either a 10-week group CBSM intervention or a 1-day psychoeducational (PE) control group. They completed the Impact of Event Scale (IES) and Affect Balance Scale (ABS) at study entry, and at 6- and 12- month follow-ups.


Latent Growth Curve Modeling across the 12-month interval showed that CBSM interacted with initial cancer-related distress to influence distress and affect. Follow-up analyses showed that those with higher initial distress were significantly improved by CBSM compared to control treatment. No differential improvement in affect or intrusive thoughts occurred among low-distress women.


CBSM decreased negative affect and intrusive thoughts and increases positive affect among post-surgical BCa patients presenting with elevated cancer-specific distress after surgery, but did not show similar effects in women with low levels of cancer-specific distress. Identifying patients most in need of intervention in the period after surgery may optimize cost-effective cancer care.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wang, AW-T; Bouchard, LC; Gudenkauf, LM; Jutagir, DR; Fisher, HM; Jacobs, JM; Blomberg, BB; Lechner, SC; Carver, CS; Antoni, MH

Published Date

  • October 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 113 /

Start / End Page

  • 52 - 57

PubMed ID

  • 30190048

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6130907

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1360

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3999

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2018.07.011


  • eng