Intervention Helps Mothers of Children Diagnosed With Cancer

Bright IDEAS problem-solving skills training improves mood, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with a nondirective support intervention, mothers of children recently diagnosed with cancer who participate in the Bright IDEAS problem-solving skills training (PSST) intervention experience beneficial effects on mood, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress, which continue after the intervention ends, according to research published online Jan. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Olle Jane Z. Sahler, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues conducted a multisite, randomized, clinical trial involving 309 English- or Spanish-speaking mothers of children recently diagnosed with cancer to determine the specificity of the Bright IDEAS PSST and its direct and indirect effects, compared with a control nondirective support intervention.

At baseline, the researchers found that there were no between-group differences, while immediately following the intervention, outcome measures improved equally for both groups, except for the level of problem-solving skill, which was taught in the PSST group. At the three-month follow-up, significant improvements in mood, anxiety and posttraumatic stress were observed for mothers in the PSST group, while there were no further significant gains in the control group.

"We strongly endorse including fathers and other caregivers and believe the simple steps of the Bright IDEAS paradigm are applicable to problems encountered across many illness types and situations," the authors write. "Face-to-face PSST is labor intensive. Increased computer accessibility, social networking, and online training are likely key to broad dissemination, especially because, once designed and implemented, the cost of an online intervention/participant decreases as usage increases."

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