Improving the effectiveness of adjuvant psychological treatment for women with breast cancer: The feasibility of providing online support

Authors

  • Jason E. Owen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
    2. Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
    • Department of Psychology, 415 Campbell Hall, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294
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  • Joshua C. Klapow,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
    2. Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
    3. Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
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  • David L. Roth,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
    2. Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
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  • Lisle Nabell,

    1. Department of Hematology/Oncology, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL, USA
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  • Diane C. Tucker

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
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Abstract

Many well-designed studies have shown psychosocial treatments for cancer to be efficacious for improving patients' quality of life, but the actual impact of these treatments may be limited by low rates of participation. Web-based treatment formats could improve effectiveness by increasing availability and accessibility. Two phases of a feasibility study are reported in this article. In the first phase, we sought to assess internet access and perceived interest in online support among 136 women with breast cancer (June–October, 1999). Levels of interest in participating in an online psychosocial treatment were associated with age, outcome expectancy, and barriers to using the internet but not stage or time since diagnosis. In the second phase, we document accrual rates among several methods of recruitment during a randomized trial (February–December, 2001) and report changes over time in internet access. Recruitment rates were substantially higher when a study representative was available in clinic to provide information about the treatment than for all other methods of recruitment. Access to the internet increased between 1999 (63%) and 2001 (70%) and varied across age groups. These results suggest that internet-based psychosocial treatments, with notable limitations, are feasible for increasing the impact of psychosocial care. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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