Existential distress and meaning-focused interventions in cancer survivorship

Existential distress and meaning-focused interventions in cancer survivorship Purpose of reviewCancer can challenge fundamental assumptions about security, controllability and life priorities, which may lead to clinically relevant existential distress. We review recent studies on the prevalence of existential distress in cancer survivors, its distinctness from other distress concepts and interventions to address cancer-specific existential challenges. We further describe psychological mechanisms that may underlie change resulting from such interventions.Recent findingsOne-third to one-half of cancer survivors experienced existential fears and concerns related to reduced control, identity and uncertainty about the future. Clinically relevant levels of demoralization (a state comprising loss of meaning and a sense of poor coping) were found in one in four to five cancer patients in mixed samples. Existential interventions have shown positive effects in facilitating personal meaning and promoting psychological adaptation.SummaryExistential distress can be understood as a distinct dimension of cancer-related distress requiring attention from healthcare professionals. Psychosocial interventions can facilitate dealing with existential challenges during and while transitioning to longer term survivorship. Such interventions can effectively support survivors to manage uncertainty, link cancer to their life story and engage in meaningful activity despite an uncertain and potentially foreshortened future. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care Wolters Kluwer Health

Existential distress and meaning-focused interventions in cancer survivorship

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Publisher
Wolters Kluwer Health
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1751-4258
eISSN
1751-4266
D.O.I.
10.1097/SPC.0000000000000324
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose of reviewCancer can challenge fundamental assumptions about security, controllability and life priorities, which may lead to clinically relevant existential distress. We review recent studies on the prevalence of existential distress in cancer survivors, its distinctness from other distress concepts and interventions to address cancer-specific existential challenges. We further describe psychological mechanisms that may underlie change resulting from such interventions.Recent findingsOne-third to one-half of cancer survivors experienced existential fears and concerns related to reduced control, identity and uncertainty about the future. Clinically relevant levels of demoralization (a state comprising loss of meaning and a sense of poor coping) were found in one in four to five cancer patients in mixed samples. Existential interventions have shown positive effects in facilitating personal meaning and promoting psychological adaptation.SummaryExistential distress can be understood as a distinct dimension of cancer-related distress requiring attention from healthcare professionals. Psychosocial interventions can facilitate dealing with existential challenges during and while transitioning to longer term survivorship. Such interventions can effectively support survivors to manage uncertainty, link cancer to their life story and engage in meaningful activity despite an uncertain and potentially foreshortened future.

Journal

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative CareWolters Kluwer Health

Published: Mar 1, 2018

References

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