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Exploring the effectiveness of crisis counseling and psychoeducation in relation to improving mental well-being, quality of life and treatment compliance of breast cancer patients in Qatar

Authors Al-Sulaiman RJ, Bener A, Doodson L, Bujassoum Al Bader S, Ghuloum S, Lemaux A, Bugrein H, Alassam R, Karim A

Received 7 January 2018

Accepted for publication 17 March 2018

Published 8 June 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 285—298

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S161840

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Everett Magann


Reem Jawad Al-Sulaiman,1 Abdulbari Bener,2,3 Lisa Doodson,4 Salha Bujassoum Al Bader,1 Suhaila Ghuloum,5 Alain Lemaux,1 Hekmat Bugrein,1 Reena Alassam,1 Aisha Karim1

1Department of Medical Oncology, National Center of Cancer Care and Research, Doha, Qatar; 2Istanbul Medipol University, International School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey; 3Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey; 4Department of Psychotherapy and Counseling Studies, Regent’s University London, London, UK; 5Department of Psychiatry, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Background: An insufficient number of studies have been carried out in the Middle East to evaluate the role of structured psychotherapeutic interventions in enhancing breast cancer patients’ psychological well-being, quality of life and treatment compliance. This study has been designed to address this limitation by exploring the benefit of two structured psychotherapeutic interventions, crisis counseling and psychoeducation, in enhancing breast cancer patients’ psychological well-being, quality of life and treatment compliance in Qatar.
Methods: A total of 201 women with early-stage breast cancer from the state of Qatar were recruited and randomized into either the control group or one of the treatment groups (crisis counseling or psychoeducation). Each of the two treatment interventions consisted of a total of six 60- to 90-minute sessions, which were provided over a period of 12 weeks. The short- and long-term benefits of the crisis counseling and psychoeducation interventions were evaluated in terms of improving patients’ psychological well-being, quality of life and treatment compliance by asking all the patients to complete the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale, 21 item version (DASS-21) and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life scale (QLQ-C30) instruments at different points in time and by monitoring their compliance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
Results: This study revealed that both of the study interventions, crisis counseling and psychoeducation, were effective in improving women’s psychological well-being and quality of life over time in comparison to the control group, but had no significant impact on patients’ compliance with treatment. In addition, the study showed that psychoeducation conferred a greater advantage than did the crisis counseling model, especially in improving women’s psychological well-being over time.
Conclusion: This study is considered the first of its kind in Qatar to provide evidence on the benefit of crisis counseling and psychoeducation interventions in improving the psychological well-being and quality of life of women with early-stage breast cancer in Qatar. In addition, this study has provided innovative research that can be used as evidence to propose changes to the psychotherapy services for breast cancer patients in Qatar. This research study aims to provide a first step toward further research in the future, which will hopefully lead to a better health care system for cancer patients in Qatar.

Keywords: breast cancer, DASS-21, QLQ-C30, crisis counseling, psychoeducation, NCCCR, Qatar, psycho-oncology, psychotherapy, cancer, psychological wellbeing

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