Center on Stress and Health


Giese-Davis, J., A. Conrad, B. Nouriani and D. Spiegel (2008). "Exploring emotion-regulation and autonomic physiology in metastatic breast cancer patients: Repression, suppression, and restraint of hostility".  Pers Individ Dif. 44(1): 226-237.

Spiegel, D. and H. C. Kraemer (2008). "Emotional well-being does not predict survival in head and neck cancer patients: a Radiation Therapy Oncology Group study." Cancer.

Spiegel, D., L. D. Butler, J. Giese-Davis, C. Koopman, E. Miller, S. DiMiceli, C. C. Classen, P. Fobair, R. W. Carlson and H. C. Kraemer (2007). "Effects of supportive-expressive group therapy on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer: a randomized prospective trial." Cancer 110(5): 1130-8.
BACKGROUND: This study was designed to replicate our earlier finding that intensive group therapy extended survival time of women with metastatic breast cancer. Subsequent findings concerning the question of whether such psychosocial support affects survival have been mixed. METHODS: One hundred twenty-five women with confirmed metastatic (n = 122) or locally recurrent (n = 3) breast cancer were randomly assigned either to the supportive-expressive group therapy condition (n = 64), where they received educational materials plus weekly supportive-expressive group therapy, or to the control condition (n = 61), where they received only educational materials for a minimum of 1 year. The treatment, 90 minutes once a week, was designed to build new bonds of social support, encourage expression of emotion, deal with fears of dying and death, help restructure life priorities, improve communication with family members and healthcare professionals, and enhance control of pain and anxiety. RESULTS: Overall mortality after 14 years was 86%; median survival time was 32.8 months. No overall statistically significant effect of treatment on survival was found for treatment (median, 30.7 months) compared with control (median, 33.3 months) patients, but there was a statistically significant intervention site-by-condition interaction. Exploratory moderator analysis to explain that interaction revealed a significant overall interaction between estrogen-receptor (ER) status and treatment condition (P = .002) such that among the 25 ER-negative participants, those randomized to treatment survived longer (median, 29.8 months) than ER-negative controls (median, 9.3 months), whereas the ER-positive participants showed no treatment effect. CONCLUSIONS: The earlier finding that longer survival was associated with supportive-expressive group therapy was not replicated. Although it is possible that psychosocial effects on survival are relevant to a small subsample of women who are more refractory to current hormonal treatments, further research is required to investigate subgroup differences.

Palesh, O. G., K. Collie, D. Batiuchok, J. Tilston, C. Koopman, M. L. Perlis, L. D. Butler, R. Carlson and D. Spiegel (2007). "A longitudinal study of depression, pain, and stress as predictors of sleep disturbance among women with metastatic breast cancer." Biol Psychol 75(1): 37-44.
OBJECTIVE: Sleep disturbances are common among women with breast cancer and can have serious consequences. The present study examined depression, pain, life stress, and participation in group therapy in relation to sleep disturbances in a sample of women with metastatic breast cancer. METHODS: Ninety-three women with metastatic breast cancer participated in a large intervention trial examining the effect of the group therapy on their symptoms. They completed measures of depression, pain, life stress, and sleep disturbance at baseline, 4, 8 and 12 months. RESULTS: The results showed that higher initial levels of depression at baseline predicted problems associated with getting up in the morning, waking up during the night, and daytime sleepiness. Increases in depression over the course of 12 months were associated with fewer hours of sleep, more problems with waking up during the night and more daytime sleepiness. Higher levels of pain at baseline predicted more problems getting to sleep. Increases in pain predicted more difficulty getting to sleep and more problems waking up during the night. Greater life stress at baseline predicted more problems getting to sleep and more daytime sleepiness. CONCLUSIONS: Depression, pain, and life stress scores were each associated with different types of negative change in self-reported sleep disturbances. Depression, especially worsening depression, was associated with the greatest number of types of negative change. The relationships found between sleep disturbance and depression, pain, and life stress suggest specific ways to address the problem of sleep disturbance for women with metastatic breast cancer and show how different types of disturbed sleep may be clinical markers for depression, pain, or life stress in this population.

Palesh, O., L. D. Butler, C. Koopman, J. Giese-Davis, R. Carlson and D. Spiegel (2007). "Stress history and breast cancer recurrence." J Psychosom Res 63(3): 233-9.
BACKGROUND: There is mixed evidence regarding the possible association between a history of stressful or traumatic life events and more rapid breast cancer progression. METHOD: Retrospective reports of past experiences of traumatic life events were assessed among 94 women with metastatic or recurrent breast cancer. A traumatic event assessment was conducted using the event-screening question from the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) module of the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV-TR (SCID; 2002). Each reported event was judged by two independent raters to determine whether it met DSM-IV-TR PTSD A1 criteria for a traumatic event. Those events that did not meet such criteria were designated "stressful events." RESULTS: Nearly 42% of the women in the sample were judged to have experienced one or more traumatic events; 28.7% reported only stressful events. A Kruskal-Wallis test found significant differences in disease-free interval among the three groups [chi2 (2, N=94)=6.09, P<.05]. Planned comparisons revealed a significantly longer disease-free interval among women who had reported no traumatic or stressful life events (median=62 months) compared to those who had experienced one or more stressful or traumatic life events (combined median=31 months). CONCLUSIONS: A history of stressful or traumatic life events may reduce host resistance to tumor growth. These findings are consistent with a possible long-lasting effect of previous life stress on stress response systems such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Collie, K., M. A. Kreshka, S. Ferrier, R. Parsons, K. Graddy, S. Avram, P. Mannell, X. H. Chen, J. Perkins and C. Koopman (2007). "Videoconferencing for delivery of breast cancer support groups to women living in rural communities: a pilot study." Psychooncology 16(8): 778-82.
Women with breast cancer in rural areas are likely to exhaust their usual sources of psychosocial support while still facing challenges posed by breast cancer, but are unlikely to have access to professionally led support groups. In this community-based project, we assessed the feasibility and acceptability of providing support groups to women with breast cancer in a large rural area using videoconferencing and a workbook journal, and we assessed the intervention's potential to reduce distress and increase emotional expression and self-efficacy for coping with cancer. Twenty-seven women in the Intermountain Region of northeastern California participated in eight-session support groups led by an oncology social worker by going to nearby videoconferencing sites. Feasibility and acceptability were demonstrated. Older as well as younger women were comfortable using videoconferencing and said the groups were valuable because they promoted information sharing and emotional bonds with other women with breast cancer. They emphasized the importance of a professional facilitator and identified advantages of using videoconferencing for support groups. Pretest and posttest comparisons showed significant decreases in depression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. The results suggest that the intervention has the potential to provide a valuable service that is not readily available in rural communities.

Classen, C. C., H. C. Kraemer, C. Blasey, J. Giese-Davis, C. Koopman, O. G. Palesh, A. Atkinson, S. Dimiceli, G. Stonisch-Riggs, J. Westendorp, G. R. Morrow and D. Spiegel (2007). "Supportive-expressive group therapy for primary breast cancer patients: a randomized prospective multicenter trial." Psychooncology.
Objective: The aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a manualized 12-week supportive-expressive group therapy program among primary breast cancer patients treated in community settings, to determine whether highly distressed patients were most likely to benefit and whether therapist's training or experience was related to outcome.Method: Three hundred and fifty-three women within one year of diagnosis with primary breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive supportive-expressive group therapy or to an education control condition. Participants were recruited from two academic centers and nine oncology practices, which were members of NCI's Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) and were followed over 2 years.Results: A 2x2x19 analysis of variance was conducted with main effects of treatment condition, cohort, and baseline distress and their interactions. There was no main effect for treatment condition after removing one subject with an extreme score. Highly distressed women did not derive a greater benefit from treatment. Therapist training and psychotherapy experience were not associated with a treatment effect.Conclusions: This study provides no evidence of reduction in distress as the result of a brief supportive-expressive intervention for women with primary breast cancer. Future studies might productively focus on women with higher initial levels of distress. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Wong, M., E. Looney, J. Michaels, O. Palesh and C. Koopman (2006). "A preliminary study of peritraumatic dissociation, social support, and coping in relation to posttraumatic stress symptoms for a parent's cancer." Psychooncology 15(12): 1093-8.
This study examined predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in adults who, as children, had a parent diagnosed with cancer. Possible predictors of adulthood PTSD examined were peritraumatic dissociation, satisfaction with social support, coping through denial, behavioral disengagement and self-distraction, and whether or not the parent died. Thirty research participants (20 women and 10 men, ages 18-38) were recruited who were 8-17-years old at the time of a parent's cancer diagnosis. Each participant completed measures of their current PTSD symptoms in response to their parent's cancer, peritraumatic dissociative experiences, demographic characteristics, and satisfaction with social support and use of coping strategies at the time of their parent's cancer diagnosis. Seventeen percent met screening criteria for likely PTSD. As hypothesized, PTSD symptoms were strongly and positively correlated with peritraumatic dissociation. Furthermore, PTSD symptoms were greater among females and were related to greater use of denial and behavioral disengagement and to less satisfaction with social support. These results suggest that health care providers need to recognize symptoms of peritraumatic dissociation in the children of parents who are diagnosed with cancer so that steps can be taken to minimize the children's development of PTSD that may extend into their adult lives.

Turner-Cobb, J. M., L. E. Bloor, A. S. Whittemore, D. West and D. Spiegel (2006). "Disengagement and social support moderate distress among women with a family history of breast cancer." Breast J 12(1): 7-15.
Using a cross-sectional, exploratory design, this pilot study analyzed the relationships between familial history of breast cancer and psychological distress in order to evaluate who is more distressed and to assess the possible need for intervention. Coping style, social support, and family relations were investigated as potential moderators of these relationships. Participants were 45 women with a familial history of breast cancer recruited from the Family Registry for Breast Cancer (FRBC) at the Northern California Cancer Center (NCCC). Contrary to previous reports of similar cohorts, the overall level of psychological distress in this cohort was comparable to normative samples. The number of relatives with breast cancer was related to distress as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) scale, but there was no significant differentiation in distress associated with the number of first-degree as compared to second- and third-degree relatives with breast cancer. Having more relatives that had died from breast cancer was associated with greater distress on a number of measures. The number of first-degree relative deaths, including maternal death, was also associated with distress. Positive and network support, disengagement coping responses, and family cohesion were each significant moderators of the impact of family history on distress. This association between distress and disengagement is similar to that found in metastatic breast cancer patients themselves, and the findings suggest a subgroup that merits and might respond to more intensive intervention to provide support and facilitate emotional expression.

Spiegel, D., J. Giese-Davis, C. B. Taylor and H. Kraemer (2006). "Stress sensitivity in metastatic breast cancer: analysis of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function." Psychoneuroendocrinology 31(10): 1231-44.
The normal diurnal cortisol cycle has a peak in the morning, decreasing rapidly over the day, with low levels during the night, then rising rapidly again to the morning peak. A pattern of flatter daytime slopes has been associated with more rapid cancer progression in both animals and humans. We studied the relationship between the daytime slopes and other daytime cortisol responses to both pharmacological and psychosocial challenges of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function as well as DHEA in a sample of 99 women with metastatic breast cancer, in hopes of elucidating the dysregulatory process. We found that the different components of HPA regulation: the daytime cortisol slope, the rise in cortisol from waking to 30 min later, and cortisol response to various challenges, including dexamethasone (DEX) suppression, corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) activation, and the Trier Social Stress Task, were at best modestly associated. Escape from suppression stimulated by 1mg of DEX administered the night before was moderately but significantly associated with flatter daytime cortisol slopes (r=0.28 to .30 at different times of the post DEX administration day, all p<.01). Daytime cortisol slopes were also moderately but significant associated with the rise in cortisol from waking to 30 min after awakening (r=.29, p=.004, N=96), but not with waking cortisol level (r=-0.13, p=.19). However, we could not detect any association between daytime cortisol slope and activation of cortisol secretion by either CRF infusion or the Trier Social Stress Task. The CRF activation test (following 1.5mg of DEX to assure that the effect was due to exogenous CRF) produced ACTH levels that were correlated (r=0.66, p<.0001, N=74) with serum cortisol levels, indicating adrenal responsiveness to ACTH stimulation. Daytime cortisol slopes were significantly correlated with the slope of DHEA (r=.21, p=.04, N=95). Our general findings suggest that flatter daytime cortisol slopes among metastatic breast cancer patients may be related to disrupted feedback inhibition rather than hypersensitivity in response to stimulation.

Reuter, K., C. C. Classen, J. A. Roscoe, G. R. Morrow, J. J. Kirshner, R. Rosenbluth, P. J. Flynn, K. Shedlock and D. Spiegel (2006). "Association of coping style, pain, age and depression with fatigue in women with primary breast cancer." Psychooncology 15(9): 772-9.
The purpose of this study was to explore the relative contributions of coping, depression, pain and age, in the experience of cancer related fatigue. A total of 353 women treated for primary breast cancer were assessed within one year of diagnosis using the Profile of Mood States, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale. Fatigue was positively associated with depression and pain, but inversely related to age. In contrast to our expectations, fighting spirit was not associated with less fatigue. A relationship between coping style and cancer-related fatigue was found exclusively for 'positive reappraisal', a combination of fighting spirit and fatalism. Detectable only in multivariate analysis together with depression, the results suggest a weak association between coping and fatigue. The relationship between cancer related fatigue, age and coping styles requires further exploration within longitudinal studies.

Palesh, O. G., T. Shaffer, J. Larson, S. Edsall, X. H. Chen, C. Koopman, J. M. Turner-Cobb, M. A. Kreshka, K. Graddy and R. Parsons (2006). "Emotional self-efficacy, stressful life events, and satisfaction with social support in relation to mood disturbance among women living with breast cancer in rural communities." Breast J 12(2): 123-9.
This study evaluated the relationships of emotional self-efficacy, stressful life events, and social support with mood disturbance among women diagnosed with breast cancer who live in rural communities. Eighty-two women completed measures of demographic characteristics, medical status, and psychosocial variables. Using multiple regression analysis, we found that greater mood disturbance was related to having less emotional self-efficacy (p < 0.001) and to having experienced more stressful life events (p = 0.02), while satisfaction with social support was not significantly related to mood disturbance (adjusted R2 = 0.39). Women living with breast cancer in rural communities who have experienced multiple stressful life events may have an increased risk for mood disturbance, whereas having greater emotional self-efficacy may provide resilience against mood disturbance.

Owen, J. E., J. Giese-Davis, M. Cordova, C. Kronenwetter, M. Golant and D. Spiegel (2006). "Self-report and linguistic indicators of emotional expression in narratives as predictors of adjustment to cancer." J Behav Med 29(4): 335-45.
Emotional expression and cognitive efforts to adapt to cancer have been linked to better psychological adjustment. However, little is known about the relationship between linguistic indicators of emotional and cognitive coping efforts and corresponding self-report measures of related constructs. In this study, we sought to evaluate the interrelationships between self-reports of emotional suppression and linguistic indicators of emotional and cognitive coping efforts in those living with cancer. Seventy-one individuals attending a community cancer support group completed measures of emotional suppression and mood disturbance and provided a written narrative describing their cancer experience. Self-reports of emotional suppression were associated with more rather than less distress. Although linguistic indicators of both emotional expression and cognitive processing were generally uncorrelated with self-report measures of emotional suppression and mood disturbance, a significant interaction was observed between emotional suppression and use of cognitive words on mood disturbance. Among those using higher levels of emotional suppression, increasing use of cognitive words was associated with greater levels of mood disturbance. These findings have implications for a) the therapeutic use of emotion in psychosocial interventions and b) the use of computer-assisted technologies to conduct content analysis.

Giese-Davis, J., F. H. Wilhelm, A. Conrad, H. C. Abercrombie, S. Sephton, M. Yutsis, E. Neri, C. B. Taylor, H. C. Kraemer and D. Spiegel (2006). "Depression and stress reactivity in metastatic breast cancer." Psychosom Med 68(5): 675-83.
OBJECTIVE: Cancer-related distress due to the psychological and physical challenges of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) may result in symptoms of depression, which negatively affects quality and may influence quantity of life. This study investigated how depression affects MBC stress reactivity, including autonomic (ANS) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function. METHOD: Forty-five nondepressed and 45 depressed patients with MBC underwent a modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) while affect, cardiovascular, respiratory, and cortisol responses were measured. RESULTS: At study entry, depressed compared with nondepressed patients had significantly lower log cortisol waking rise levels (p = .005) but no other HPA differences. Positive affect (p = .025) and high-frequency heart-rate variability (lnHF) (p = .002) were significantly lower at TSST baseline in depressed patients. In response to the TSST, depressed patients reported significantly lower positive (p = .050) and greater negative affect (p = .037) and had significantly reduced lnHF (p = .031). In secondary analyses, at TSST baseline both low-frequency (lnLF) (p = .002) and very-low-frequency (lnVLF) (p = .0001) heart rate variability were significantly lower in the depressed group. In secondary analyses during the TSST, those who were depressed had significantly lower lnVLF (p = .008) and did not increase aortic impedance reactivity as much as did the nondepressed during the stressor (p = .005). CONCLUSION: Depression in patients with MBC was associated with alterations in autonomic regulation, particularly reductions in respiratory sinus arrhythmia, a measure of cardiac vagal control, at baseline and during the TSST. In addition, depression was associated with blunted HPA response to awakening. Both MBC groups had relative cortisol hyporesponsiveness to acute stress.

Giese-Davis, J., S. DiMiceli, S. Sephton and D. Spiegel (2006). "Emotional expression and diurnal cortisol slope in women with metastatic breast cancer in supportive-expressive group therapy: a preliminary study." Biol Psychol 73(2): 190-8.
We examined coded emotional expression during an initial therapy session and its association with a known physiological risk factor for early death, aberrant diurnal cortisol slope, in women with metastatic breast cancer. Out of 64 women with metastatic breast cancer randomized to a multi-site clinical intervention trial of supportive-expressive group therapy (SET), a subsample of 29 met eligibility criteria for this study. We tested whether longer mean durations of primary negative affect (fear, sadness, and anger) expression were associated with steeper diurnal cortisol slopes after adjusting for speaking time, repressive-defensiveness, anxiety, and the interaction between repressive-defensiveness and anxiety. We found that steeper cortisol slopes were related to lower repressive-defensiveness and greater primary negative affect expression in line with a priori hypotheses. Additionally we explored whether coded positive affect, defensive/hostile affect, constrained anger, and the interaction between primary negative affect and repressive-defensiveness explained additional variance in diurnal cortisol patterns.

Giese-Davis, J., C. Bliss-Isberg, K. Carson, P. Star, J. Donaghy, M. J. Cordova, N. Stevens, L. Wittenberg, C. Batten and D. Spiegel (2006). "The effect of peer counseling on quality of life following diagnosis of breast cancer: an observational study." Psychooncology 15(11): 1014-22.
Women with breast cancer express the greatest need for counseling at the time of diagnosis and report that the intervention they want is to be able to speak with someone who has the same cancer, but has lived through the crisis of treatment and is leading a 'normal' life. We conducted an observational study of a 6-month peer-counseling intervention testing outcomes for both newly diagnosed women (Sojourners) and peer counselors (Navigators) as a first step toward the goal of validating a peer navigator program. Significant improvement in the Sojourners was observed in trauma symptoms, emotional well-being, cancer self-efficacy, and desire for information on breast cancer resources. Navigators maintained baseline levels of the outcome variables, but increased in dissatisfaction with their interactions with their medical team and increased emotional suppression. Our findings indicate that peer navigation may halt a decline in quality of life that is commonly found in the first year following breast cancer diagnosis. In addition, Navigators were not adversely affected by their experience; however, careful training and supervision of Navigators is crucial to overall success. Randomized clinical trials are needed to demonstrate the efficacy of peer navigator programs.

Choumanova, I., S. Wanat, R. Barrett and C. Koopman (2006). "Religion and spirituality in coping with breast cancer: perspectives of Chilean women." Breast J 12(4): 349-52.
This study examined the roles of religion and spirituality in relation to coping with breast cancer in Chilean women. Specifically, the purpose of the study was to examine how these patients used religion and spirituality to cope with their illness; how their illness changed the roles of religion and spirituality in their lives; and their views regarding whether, and if so how, spiritual faith can help patients recuperate from breast cancer. Twenty-seven women with breast cancer who were patients at a clinic in Santiago, Chile were recruited to participate in one-on-one interviews. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using the "constant comparative method" to seek patterns and organize the content into specific themes. Women viewed religion and spirituality as primary resources for themselves and others to use in coping with breast cancer. Women's use of religion and spirituality was manifested in praying, in their perceived dependence on God to intercede and guide them through their illness, and in obtaining social support from other persons in their faith community. Half (13/26) of the women reported that their cancer prompted an increased emphasis on religion and spirituality in their lives by deepening their faith in God. Almost all (26/27) participants endorsed the belief that spiritual faith can help cancer patients to recuperate. These findings suggest that health care providers working should be aware of the culturally dependent roles that religion and spirituality play in women's coping with breast cancer.

Han, W. T., K. Collie, C. Koopman, J. Azarow, C. Classen, G. R. Morrow, B. Michel, E. Brennan-O'Neill and D. Spiegel (2005). "Breast cancer and problems with medical interactions: relationships with traumatic stress, emotional self-efficacy, and social support." Psychooncology 14(4): 318-30.
This investigation examined relationships between breast cancer patients' psychosocial characteristics (impact of the illness, traumatic stress symptoms, emotional self-efficacy, and social support) and problems they perceived in their medical interactions and their satisfaction with their physicians. Participants were 352 women enrolled in a multicenter trial of the effects of group therapy for women with recently diagnosed primary breast cancer. The findings reported here are from a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data gathered prior to randomization. Problems interacting with physicians and nurses were associated with greater levels of cancer-related traumatic stress (p < 0.01), less emotional self-efficacy for cancer (p < 0.05), less satisfaction with informational support from family, friends, and spouse, and a tendency to perceive those sources of support as more aversive (p < 0.05). Women who were less satisfied with emotional support from their family, friends and spouse were less likely to feel satisfied with their physicians (p < 0.05). These patient characteristics identify women with primary breast cancer who are likely to experience difficulty in their interactions with nurses and physicians and to be less satisfied with their physicians.

Collie, K., P. Wong, J. Tilston, L. D. Butler, J. Turner-Cobb, M. A. Kreshka, R. Parsons, K. Graddy, J. D. Cheasty and C. Koopman (2005). "Self-efficacy, coping, and difficulties interacting with health care professionals among women living with breast cancer in rural communities." Psychooncology 14(10): 901-12; discussion 913-4.
This study examined self-efficacy, coping, and social support in relation to difficulties interacting with physicians and nurses among women living with breast cancer. One hundred women living in rural, mountainous communities of northeastern California were recruited, with 89 providing complete data for this study. All women completed a battery of questionnaires that included the CARES--Medical Interaction Subscale and measures of self-efficacy, coping, satisfaction with social support, and demographic and medical characteristics. In a multiple regression analysis, difficulties interacting with medical professionals were found to be greater among women who were not married, who used more behavioral disengagement or less self-distraction to cope with breast cancer, and who reported less self-efficacy for affect regulation and for seeking and understanding medical information. Emotional venting and satisfaction with social support for dealing with cancer-related stress were not, however, significantly related to difficulties in interacting with the medical team. This model accounted for an adjusted value of 42% of the variance. Further research is needed to identify possible causal relationships related to these findings and to determine what interventions might be warranted to improve medical interactions for women with breast cancer living in rural areas.

Butler, L. D., N. P. Field, A. L. Busch, J. E. Seplaki, T. A. Hastings and D. Spiegel (2005). "Anticipating loss and other temporal stressors predict traumatic stress symptoms among partners of metastatic/recurrent breast cancer patients." Psychooncology 14(6): 492-502.
This study examined pre- and post-loss levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms (intrusion and avoidance) in partners of metastatic/recurrent breast cancer patients, and the relationship of these symptoms to past, current, and anticipatory stressors. The results indicate that 34% (17/50) of the partners experienced clinically significant symptom levels prior to the patients' deaths. Prior to loss, partners' symptoms were positively associated with their current level of perceived stress and anticipated impact of the loss; whereas following loss, partners' symptoms were predicted by higher pre-loss levels of symptoms, past family deaths, and anticipated impact of the loss. Limitations and treatment implications of the present research and directions for future research are discussed.

Turner-Cobb, J. M., C. Koopman, J. D. Rabinowitz, A. I. Terr, S. E. Sephton and D. Spiegel (2004). "The interaction of social network size and stressful life events predict delayed-type hypersensitivity among women with metastatic breast cancer." Int J Psychophysiol 54(3): 241-9.
This study examined relationships between social support, stressful life events and antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity. Participants were 72 women with documented metastatic breast carcinoma, who completed self-report measures of social support and life stress. Immune response was assessed using the delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin test. Number of positive antigens was significantly related to the interaction of social network size and stressful life events (p<0.05). Number of positive antigens was greater for women who had experienced a high frequency of stressful life events but who reported a larger network of support. However, social network size was inversely related to DTH response among women who had experienced fewer stressful life events. Average induration size was not significantly related to the quality of social support, life stress per se, or their interactions. The relationship between social network size and immune response in women with metastatic breast cancer depends on prior stressful life experience.

Rosenbaum, E., H. Gautier, P. Fobair, E. Neri, B. Festa, M. Hawn, A. Andrews, N. Hirshberger, S. Selim and D. Spiegel (2004). "Cancer supportive care, improving the quality of life for cancer patients. A program evaluation report." Support Care Cancer 12(5): 293-301.
GOALS OF WORK: As medical care for cancer has become more specialized in diagnosis, treatment has become more technical and fragmented. In order to help cancer patients and their families, we developed a coordinated program called the Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Program (SCSCP) at the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. The Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Program was initiated in 1999 to provide support for cancer patients, addressing the need for improved physical and emotional well-being and quality of life. This paper is a program evaluation report. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The number of patient visits grew from 421 in 1999 to 6319 in 2002. This paper describes the utilization of the SCSCP program as assessed by 398 patient visit evaluations during a 9-week period, January 2002 to March 2002. During this time we collected attendance records with demographic data and anonymous questionnaires evaluating each program. Patients were asked to evaluate how the program helped them regarding increase of energy, reduction in stress, restful sleep, pain reduction, sense of hopefulness, and empowerment. MAIN RESULTS: Over 90% of the patients using the SCSCP felt there was benefit to the program. Programs were chosen based on a needs assessment by oncologists, nurse managers, social workers, and patients. Massage, yoga, and qigong classes had the highest number of participants. Qualitative data showed benefit for each program offered. CONCLUSIONS: This evaluation of a free cancer supportive care program initiated in a hospital outpatient setting provides initial evidence of patient satisfaction and improvement in quality of life.

Giese-Davis, J., S. E. Sephton, H. C. Abercrombie, R. E. Duran and D. Spiegel (2004). "Repression and high anxiety are associated with aberrant diurnal cortisol rhythms in women with metastatic breast cancer." Health Psychol 23(6): 645-50.
Previous research has provided evidence of autonomic, endocrine, and immunological dysregulation in repressers and a possible association with cancer incidence and progression. Recently published data from the authors' laboratory demonstrated that flatter diurnal cortisol slopes were a risk factor for early mortality in women with metastatic breast cancer. In the current analysis of this same sample (N=91), the authors tested differences at baseline between groups scored using the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory on diurnal cortisol slope and mean cortisol levels. When compared with self-assured and nonextreme groups, the represser and high-anxious groups had a significantly flatter diurnal slope. Diurnal slope was similar for repressers and high-anxious groups. Groups did not differ on mean cortisol levels, nor did they differ on intercept (morning) values.

Blake-Mortimer, J. S., S. E. Sephton, R. W. Carlson, D. Stites and D. Spiegel (2004). "Cytotoxic T lymphocyte count and survival time in women with metastatic breast cancer." Breast J 10(3): 195-9.
While prognostic factors in early stage breast cancer are well documented, few studies have examined predictors of the rate of metastatic progression. The purpose of this study was to examine cytotoxic T-cell lymphocyte (CTL) count as a marker of disease status in women with metastatic breast cancer. This study examined CTL subset counts as predictors of subsequent survival in 113 women with metastatic or recurrent breast cancer. Samples were measured by flow cytometry using monoclonal antibodies for cell surface antigens for percentages and absolute numbers of CTLs (CD3/CD8), total lymphocytes, T cells (CD3), helper T cells (CD3/CD4), and total white blood cell (TWC) count. Higher CTL counts emerged as a significant predictor of longer survival up to 7 years later (Wald = 7.40, p = 0.007; Cox regression model). The relationship of higher CTL count with enhanced survival was independent of the effects of medical treatment. CTLs were significantly associated with TWC count (r = 0.42, p < 0.001). However, TWC count was not associated with subsequent survival time. Higher CTL count was associated with Karnofsky performance status (r = 0.27, p = 0.004). However, after adjustment for the Karnofsky score, the CTL count/survival relationship remained significant (Wald = 4.33, p = 0.038). In conclusion, there is a robust relationship between CTL count and survival that is independent of the effects of medical treatments, TWC count, and Karnofsky performance status. Moreover, a reduced CTL count may be a mediator or marker of more rapid disease progression in metastatic breast cancer.

Abercrombie, H. C., J. Giese-Davis, S. Sephton, E. S. Epel, J. M. Turner-Cobb and D. Spiegel (2004). "Flattened cortisol rhythms in metastatic breast cancer patients." Psychoneuroendocrinology 29(8): 1082-92.
Allostatic load, the physiological accumulation of the effects of chronic stressors, has been associated with multiple adverse health outcomes. Flattened diurnal cortisol rhythmicity is one of the prototypes of allostatic load, and has been shown to predict shorter survival among women with metastatic breast cancer. The current study compared diurnal cortisol slope in 17 breast cancer patients and 31 controls, and tested associations with variables previously found to be related to cortisol regulation, i.e, abdominal adiposity, perceived stress, social support, and explicit memory. Women with metastatic breast cancer had significantly flatter diurnal cortisol rhythms than did healthy controls. Patients with greater disease severity showed higher mean cortisol levels, smaller waist circumference, and a tendency toward flatter diurnal cortisol rhythms. There were no relations between cortisol slope and psychological or cognitive functioning among patients. In contrast, controls with flatter rhythms showed the expected allostatic load profile of larger waist circumference, poorer performance on explicit memory tasks, lower perceived social support, and a tendency toward higher perceived stress. These findings suggest that the cortisol diurnal slope may have important but different correlates in healthy women versus those with breast cancer.

Winzelberg, A. J., C. Classen, G. W. Alpers, H. Roberts, C. Koopman, R. E. Adams, H. Ernst, P. Dev and C. B. Taylor (2003). "Evaluation of an internet support group for women with primary breast cancer." Cancer 97(5): 1164-73.
BACKGROUND: Women with breast carcinoma commonly experience psychologic distress following their diagnosis. Women who participate in breast cancer support groups have reported significant reduction in their psychologic distress and pain and improvement in the quality of their lives. Web-based breast cancer social support groups are widely used, but little is known of their effectiveness. Preliminary evidence suggests that women benefit from their participation in web-based support groups. METHODS: Seventy-two women with primary breast carcinoma were assigned randomly to a 12-week, web-based, social support group (Bosom Buddies). The group was semistructured, moderated by a health care professional, and delivered in an asynchronous newsgroup format. RESULTS: The results indicate that a web-based support group can be useful in reducing depression and cancer-related trauma, as well as perceived stress, among women with primary breast carcinoma. The effect sizes ranged from 0.38 to 0.54. Participants perceived a variety of benefits and high satisfaction from their participation in the intervention CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the web-based program, Bosom Buddies, was effective in reducing participants' scores on depression, perceived stress, and cancer-related trauma measures. The effect size of the intervention was in the moderate range. Although web-based social support groups offer many advantages, this delivery mechanism presents a number of ethical issues that need to be addressed.

Spiegel, D. and J. Giese-Davis (2003). "Depression and cancer: mechanisms and disease progression." Biol Psychiatry 54(3): 269-82.
Depression and cancer commonly co-occur. The prevalence of depression among cancer patients increases with disease severity and symptoms such as pain and fatigue. The literature on depression as a predictor of cancer incidence is mixed, although chronic and severe depression may be associated with elevated cancer risk. There is divided but stronger evidence that depression predicts cancer progression and mortality, although disentangling the deleterious effects of disease progression on mood complicates this research, as does the fact that some symptoms of cancer and its treatment mimic depression. There is evidence that providing psychosocial support reduces depression, anxiety, and pain, and may increase survival time with cancer, although studies in this latter area are also divided. Psychophysiological mechanisms linking depression and cancer progression include dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, especially diurnal variation in cortisol and melatonin. Depression also affects components of immune function that may affect cancer surveillance. Thus, there is evidence of a bidirectional relationship between cancer and depression, offering new opportunities for therapeutic intervention.

Sephton, S. and D. Spiegel (2003). "Circadian disruption in cancer: a neuroendocrine-immune pathway from stress to disease?" Brain Behav Immun 17(5): 321-8.
Psychosocial factors may modulate the course of cancer, but few data have been gathered on the biological mechanisms by which these effects may be mediated. We briefly review evidence of psychosocial effects on cancer progression and discuss one potential pathway that may underlie these effects: the disruption of neuroendocrine and immune circadian rhythms. Circadian system alterations occur in tumor tissue, tumor-bearing animals, and cancer patients with greater disruption seen in more advanced cases. Rhythm alterations include diminished amplitude, phase shifts, period changes, and erratic peaks and troughs in endocrine, metabolic, immunological, and rest- activity cycles. Psychosocial factors can engender dysregulation of circadian function. Cancer-related circadian dysregulation may also be driven by genetic factors, environmental and behavioral influences, and effects of the tumor on host clock regulation. There are several mechanisms by which circadian disruption might hasten tumor growth: via direct effects of altered hormone levels on tumor cells, effects on tumor versus host metabolism, neuroimmune effects resulting in cancer-relevant immunosuppression, or reduced efficacy and tolerability of cancer treatments for which the timing of administration is based upon the assumption of normal circadian rhythms. Emerging data in the human and animal literature suggest that circadian regulation may be an important prerequisite for the maintenance of host defenses against cancer. Thus, stress-related circadian disruption may have negative implications for cancer prognosis. Psychosocial effects on cancer progression may be measured, and possibly mediated, by disruption of circadian function.

Rosenbaum, E., H. Gautier, P. Fobair, A. Andrews, M. Hawn, R. Kurshner, B. Festa, P. Kramer, F. Manuel, N. Hirschberger, S. Selim and D. Spiegel (2003). "Developing a free supportive care program for cancer patients within an integrative medicine clinic." Support Care Cancer 11(5): 263-9.
The cancer patient's journey not only includes a threat to one's life, but the need to face many medical and emotional challenges. The free Cancer Supportive Care Program (CSCP) within the Center for Integrative Medicine Clinic at Stanford University Hospital and Clinics has been identified as a successful model for helping patients to deal with these challenges. Its programs include informational lectures, support groups, chair massages, exercise, alternative modality classes, a Life Tapes Project, an informational website, and a bimonthly newsletter available free to anybody touched by cancer. Now in its third year, this program benefits from a blending of leadership resources, availability of space, institutional agreement on patient need and funds from private and corporate donations. By presenting the basic premises of the Cancer Supportive Care program and outlining specifics about the program, institutions in various national and international demographic regions may implement similar programs according to their resources and the needs of patients. It is our hope that the CSCP can become a model for the development of similar programs in various parts of the United States and abroad.

Cordova, M. J., J. Giese-Davis, M. Golant, C. Kronnenwetter, V. Chang, S. McFarlin and D. Spiegel (2003). "Mood disturbance in community cancer support groups. The role of emotional suppression and fighting spirit." J Psychosom Res 55(5): 461-7.
OBJECTIVE: In this cross-sectional study, we tested whether the coping styles of emotional suppression and fighting spirit were associated with mood disturbance in cancer patients participating in professionally led community-based support groups even when demographic, medical, and group support variables were taken into account. METHODS: A heterogeneous sample of 121 cancer patients (71% female, 29% male) completed the Courtauld Emotional Control Scale (CECS), the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (Mini-MAC), a measure of perceived group support, and the Profile of Mood States (POMS). RESULTS: Consistent with hypotheses, lower emotional suppression and greater adoption of a fighting spirit, in addition to older age and higher income, were associated with lower mood disturbance. Gender, time since diagnosis, presence of metastatic disease, time in the support group, perceived group support, cognitive avoidance, and fatalism were unrelated to mood disturbance. CONCLUSION: Expression of negative affect and an attitude of realistic optimism may enhance adjustment and reduce distress for cancer patients in support groups.

Butler, L. D., C. Koopman, M. J. Cordova, R. W. Garlan, S. DiMiceli and D. Spiegel (2003). "Psychological distress and pain significantly increase before death in metastatic breast cancer patients." Psychosom Med 65(3): 416-26.
OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to examine the course of psychological distress and pain from study entry to death in 59 women with metastatic breast cancer participating in a randomized trial of the effects of group psychotherapy on psychosocial outcomes and survival. It was hypothesized that psychological distress would increase significantly before death independent of changes in pain. METHOD: Data were collected as part of a larger study (N = 125). Analyses were based on data from a subset of women who had died and for whom we had data from at least three assessments. Mean levels of mood, trauma symptoms, depression symptoms, well-being, and pain over three time points were examined: at baseline (T1), the second-to-last assessment before death (T2), and the last assessment before death (T3). RESULTS: Results indicate that while psychological distress remained relatively constant or declined from T1 to T2, means on all measures significantly changed in the hypothesized direction from T2 to T3. Neither self-reported pain, nor the passage of time, appeared to account for these changes. Additionally, participation in group psychotherapy did not have a significant impact on this change in distress proximal to death. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that specialized end-stage clinical interventions are particularly needed for cancer patients as they approach death. Moreover, intervention studies for patients with deteriorating illnesses may need to take this "spike" in psychological distress and pain proximal to death into account to avoid Type II errors in evaluations of psychological outcomes.

Angell, K. L., M. A. Kreshka, R. McCoy, P. Donnelly, J. M. Turner-Cobb, K. Graddy, H. C. Kraemer and C. Koopman (2003). "Psychosocial intervention for rural women with breast cancer: The Sierra-Stanford Partnership." J Gen Intern Med 18(7): 499-507.
OBJECTIVE: This study was initiated by breast cancer survivors living in a rural community in California. They formed a partnership with academic researchers to develop and evaluate a low-cost, community-based Workbook-Journal (WBJ) for improving psychosocial functioning in geographically and economically isolated women with primary breast cancer. DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial was used to compare the WBJ intervention plus educational materials to educational materials alone (usual care). SETTING: One rural cancer center and several private medical, surgical, and radiation oncology practices in 7 rural counties in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred women with primary breast cancer who were either within 3 months of diagnosis or within 3 months of completing treatment. INTERVENTION: A community-initiated, theoretically-based Workbook-Journal, designed by rural breast cancer survivors and providers as a support group alternative. It included compelling personal stories, local rural resources, coping strategies, and messages of hope. RESULTS: Community recruiters enrolled 83% of the women referred to the study. Retention at 3-month follow-up was 98%. There were no main effects for the WBJ. However, 3 significant interactions suggested that women who were treated in rural practices reported decreased fighting spirit and increased emotional venting and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms if they did not receive the WBJ. Among women who receive the WBJ, 74% felt emotionally supported. CONCLUSIONS: This community-based Workbook-Journal may be an effective psychosocial intervention for rural, isolated, and low-income women with breast cancer. Community involvement was essential to the success of this project.

Spiegel, D. and S. Sephton (2002). "Re: Night shift work, light at night, and risk of breast cancer." J Natl Cancer Inst 94(7): 530; author reply 532-3.

Spiegel, D. (2002). "Effects of psychotherapy on cancer survival." Nat Rev Cancer 2(5): 383-9.
The possibility that psychotherapy could extend survival time for cancer patients has attracted attention among clinical investigators interested in the mind-body connection, among cancer patients seeking the best possible outcome and among the general public. A small number of randomized trials have been conducted, and they have produced conflicting results. Does emotional support affect the course of cancer? What physiological pathways might mediate such an effect? Given what we now know, should we change the standard of care for cancer patients?

Koopman, C., B. Nouriani, V. Erickson, R. Anupindi, L. D. Butler, M. H. Bachmann, S. E. Sephton and D. Spiegel (2002). "Sleep disturbances in women with metastatic breast cancer." Breast J 8(6): 362-70.
We examined sleeping problems in women with metastatic breast cancer in relation to depression, social support, and salivary cortisol. Ninety-seven women with metastatic breast cancer were drawn from a larger study on the effects of group therapy on quality of life and survival. This study is based on the baseline assessments conducted prior to randomization into treatment conditions. Sleep, depression symptoms, and social support were assessed by self-reporting. Cortisol was assessed from saliva samples taken over a 3-day period. Medical status and demographic characteristics were also examined in relation to each sleep variable in multiple regression analysis. Most women (63%) reported one or more types of sleep disturbance and 37% reported using sleeping pills in the previous 30 days. Problems with falling to sleep were significantly related to greater pain and depressive symptoms. Problems of waking during the night were significantly associated with greater depression and less education. Problems in waking/getting up were significantly associated with greater depressive symptoms and less social support. Sleepiness during the day was not significantly related to the variables in the regression model. Fewer hours of sleep were significantly associated with metastases to the bone, higher depressive symptoms, and more social support. Women who reported sleeping 9 or more hours per night, compared to those who reported a moderate amount of sleep (6.5-8.5 hours), had significantly lower 9 p.m. cortisol levels. Use of sleeping pills was more frequent among women reporting greater pain and depressive symptoms. These results suggest that women with metastatic breast cancer who are at higher risk for having sleeping problems are those who are less educated, in pain, depressed, have bony metastases, or lack social support.

Koopman, C., L. D. Butler, C. Classen, J. Giese-Davis, G. R. Morrow, J. Westendorf, T. Banerjee and D. Spiegel (2002). "Traumatic stress symptoms among women with recently diagnosed primary breast cancer." J Trauma Stress 15(4): 277-87.
This study examined the concurrent and longitudinal relationships between traumatic stress symptoms and demographic, medical, and psychosocial variables among women recently diagnosed with primary breast cancer. Participants were 117 women drawn from a parent study for women recently diagnosed with primary breast cancer. At baseline, the Impact of Event Scale (IES) total score was related to intensity of postsurgical treatment and lower emotional self-efficacy. At the 6-month follow-up, the IES total score was significantly related to younger age, to the increased impact of the illness on life, and to the baseline IES total score assessment. These results suggest that it is important to intervene for traumatic stress symptoms soon after the diagnosis of breast cancer. Furthermore, these results suggest women at greatest risk are those who are younger, who receive postsurgical cancer treatment, who are low in emotional self-efficacy and whose lives are most affected by having cancer.

Giese-Davis, J., C. Koopman, L. D. Butler, C. Classen, M. Cordova, P. Fobair, J. Benson, H. C. Kraemer and D. Spiegel (2002). "Change in emotion-regulation strategy for women with metastatic breast cancer following supportive-expressive group therapy." J Consult Clin Psychol 70(4): 916-25.
Four relatively independent emotion-regulation constructs (suppression of negative affect, restraint, repression, and emotional self-efficacy) were tested as outcomes in a randomized trial of supportive-expressive group therapy for women with metastatic breast cancer. Results indicate that report of suppression of negative affect decreased and restraint of aggressive, inconsiderate, impulsive, and irresponsible behavior increased in the treatment group as compared with controls over 1 year in the group. Groups did not differ over time on repression or emotional self-efficacy. This study provides evidence that emotion-focused therapy can help women with advanced breast cancer to become more expressive without becoming more hostile. Even though these aspects of emotion-regulation appear trait-like within the control group, significant change was observed with treatment.

Fobair, P., C. Koopman, S. DiMiceli, K. O'Hanlan, L. D. Butler, C. Classen, N. Drooker, H. R. Davids, J. Loulan, D. Wallsten and D. Spiegel (2002). "Psychosocial intervention for lesbians with primary breast cancer." Psychooncology 11(5): 427-38.
This study examined the effects of a Supportive-Expressive group therapy intervention offered to lesbians with early stage breast cancer. Twenty lesbians diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous 12-months were recruited and assessed at baseline, and at 3, 6, and 12 months after the group intervention. During the 12-week intervention, group members focused on the problems of a new diagnosis, coping with the illness and treatment, mood changes, coping responses and self-efficacy, improving relationships with family, friends and physicians, the impact of the illness on life, pain and sleep, and changes in body image and sexuality. A within-subject slopes analysis was conducted on data collected for each woman over the first year. As predicted, women reported reduced emotional distress, intrusiveness, and avoidance, and improved coping. There were significant changes in their social support, but in the unexpected direction. Instrumental support and informational support declined. However, conflict in family relations also declined, while trends were found towards more cohesiveness and expressiveness. Participants reported less pain and better sleep. There were no changes in body image, sexuality, or attitudes toward health-care providers. These results suggest that Supportive/Expressive group intervention appears to be helpful for lesbians with breast cancer.

Spiegel, D. and S. E. Sephton (2001). "Psychoneuroimmune and endocrine pathways in cancer: effects of stress and support." Semin Clin Neuropsychiatry 6(4): 252-65.
The bulk of cancer research has productively focused on the pathophysiology of the disease, emphasizing tumor biology, especially tumor characteristics such as DNA ploidy and estrogen/progesterone receptor status as predictors of disease outcome, at the expense of studying the body's psychophysiological reactions to tumor invasion. These reactions are mediated by brain/body mechanisms, including the endocrine, neuroimmune, and autonomic nervous systems. Although a large portion of the variance in any disease outcome is accounted for by the specific local pathophysiology of that disease, some variability must also be explained by 'host resistance' factors, which include the manner of response to the stress of the illness. The evidence of links between social support, stress, emotional state, and immune and endocrine function is growing. Here we examine evidence that 2 especially promising mechanisms, one immune, one endocrine, may mediate the relationship between stress and social support on the one hand and cancer progression on the other. We chose natural killer (NK) cells and cortisol because they are particularly good examples of mediating mechanisms for which there is solid basic and clinical evidence. NK cells are of great interest because they are involved in tumor surveillance, and because their activity can be measured in vitro.

Spiegel, D. and M. Cordova (2001). "Supportive-expressive group therapy and life extension of breast cancer patients: Spiegel et al. (1989)." Adv Mind Body Med 17(1): 38-41.

Spiegel, D. (2001). "Mind matters. Coping and cancer progression." J Psychosom Res 50(5): 287-90.
The idea that having an 'attitude' about cancer makes a difference in its course is a popular but controversial one. Most oncologists and surgeons believe that tumor type and stage, general health, and medical treatment are all that account for the variance in outcome. Many patients and their families believe that having the right attitude makes a difference in the course of disease. This leads us to two empirical questions: (1) Does coping make a difference in disease progression when medical prognostic variables are taken into account? and (2) What constitutes the 'right attitude'?

Spiegel, D. (2001). "Mind matters -- group therapy and survival in breast cancer." N Engl J Med 345(24): 1767-8.

Sephton, S. E., C. Koopman, M. Schaal, C. Thoresen and D. Spiegel (2001). "Spiritual expression and immune status in women with metastatic breast cancer: an exploratory study." Breast J 7(5): 345-53.
This exploratory study examined relationships between spirituality and immune function in 112 women with metastatic breast cancer. Spirituality was assessed by patient reports of frequency of attendance at religious services and importance of religious or spiritual expression. White blood cell counts, absolute numbers of lymphocytes, T-lymphocyte subsets, and natural killer cells were assessed by flow cytometry. Assessments of natural killer cell activity and delayed-type hypersensitivity responses to skin test antigens provided two measures of functional immunity. In analyses controlling for demographic, disease status, and treatment variables, women who rated spiritual expression as more important had greater numbers of circulating white blood cells and total lymphocyte counts. Upon examination of relationships with lymphocyte subsets, both helper and cytotoxic T-cell counts were greater among women reporting greater spirituality.

Koopman, C., K. Angell, J. M. Turner-Cobb, M. A. Kreshka, P. Donnelly, R. McCoy, A. Turkseven, K. Graddy, J. Giese-Davis and D. Spiegel (2001). "Distress, coping, and social support among rural women recently diagnosed with primary breast cancer." Breast J 7(1): 25-33.
This study examined distress, coping, and group support among a sample of rural women who had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. We recruited 100 women who had been diagnosed with primary breast cancer at one of two time points in their medical treatment: either within a window up to 3 months after their diagnosis of breast cancer, or within 6 months after completing medical treatment for breast cancer. Their mean age was 58.6 years (SD = 11.6), and 90% were of white/European American ethnicity. Women completed a battery of demographic and psychosocial measures prior to being randomized into a psychoeducational intervention study, and then again 3 months later at a follow-up assessment. The focus of this article is on the women's self-reported psychosocial status at baseline. Many of the women experienced considerable traumatic stress regarding their breast cancer. However, this distress was not reflected in a standard measure of mood disturbance that is frequently used in intervention research (the Profile of Mood States). The average woman considered her diagnosis of breast cancer to be among the four most stressful life events that she had ever experienced. Also, women on average reported a high level of helplessness/hopelessness in coping with their cancer. On average, women felt that they "often" (but not "very often") received instrumental assistance, emotional support, and informational support. Women varied considerably in which kind of social group provided them with the most support, with as many reporting that they found the greatest support in spiritual/church groups or within their family units as with breast or general cancer groups. These results suggest that among these rural women with breast cancer, distress with the diagnosis of breast cancer must be carefully assessed, as women who are highly distressed about their breast cancer may not report general mood disturbance. Furthermore, the kinds of groups that rural women with breast cancer experience as most supportive need to be identified so that psychosocial interventions can be matched to breast cancer patients' individual needs.

Giese-Davis, J. and D. Spiegel (2001). "Suppression, repressive-defensiveness, restraint, and distress in metastatic breast cancer: separable or inseparable constructs?" J Pers 69(3): 417-49.
A longstanding hypothesis links affective and behavioral inhibition with cancer incidence and progression though it does not clarify psychometric distinctions among related constructs. We hypothesized that repressive-defensiveness, suppression, restraint, and distress would be separable factors in our sample of metastatic breast cancer patients. Our results support the discriminant validity of these constructs in our total sample, and the stability over 1 year in our control group. Using factor analysis, we found 4 separate factors at our prerandomization baseline corresponding closely to hypothesized constructs. Additionally, associations in a multi-trait, multi-occasion (baseline and 1 year) matrix met each of the 3 Campbell and Fiske (1959) criteria of convergent and discriminant validity. Future research testing the links between psychological, physiological, and survival outcomes with affective inhibition in cancer patients will be clearer when informed by these distinctions.

Fobair, P., K. O'Hanlan, C. Koopman, C. Classen, S. Dimiceli, N. Drooker, D. Warner, H. Davids, J. Loulan, D. Wallsten, D. Goffinet, G. Morrow and D. Spiegel (2001). "Comparison of lesbian and heterosexual women's response to newly diagnosed breast cancer." Psychooncology 10(1): 40-51.
In a study comparing lesbian and heterosexual women's response to newly diagnosed breast cancer, we compared data from 29 lesbians with 246 heterosexual women with breast cancer. Our hypotheses were that lesbian breast cancer patients would report higher scores of mood disturbance; suffer fewer problems with body image and sexual activity; show more expressiveness and cohesiveness and less conflict with their partners; would find social support from their partners and friends; and would have a poorer perception of the medical care system than heterosexual women. Our predictions regarding sexual orientation differences were supported for results regarding body image, social support, and medical care. There were no differences in mood, sexual activity or relational issues. Not predicted were differences in coping, indicating areas of emotional strength and vulnerability among the lesbian sample.

Classen, C., L. D. Butler, C. Koopman, E. Miller, S. DiMiceli, J. Giese-Davis, P. Fobair, R. W. Carlson, H. C. Kraemer and D. Spiegel (2001). "Supportive-expressive group therapy and distress in patients with metastatic breast cancer: a randomized clinical intervention trial." Arch Gen Psychiatry 58(5): 494-501.
BACKGROUND: Metastatic breast cancer carries with it considerable psychosocial morbidity. Studies have shown that some patients with metastatic breast cancer experience clinically significant anxiety and depression and traumatic stress symptoms. Supportive-expressive group psychotherapy was developed to help patients with cancer face and adjust to their existential concerns, express and manage disease-related emotions, increase social support, enhance relationships with family and physicians, and improve symptom control. METHODS: Of 125 women with metastatic breast cancer recruited into the study, 64 were randomized to the intervention and 61 to the control condition. Intervention women were offered 1 year of weekly supportive-expressive group therapy and educational materials. Control women received educational materials only. Participants were assessed at baseline and every 4 months during the first year. Data at baseline and from at least 1 assessment were collected from 102 participants during this 12-month period, and these participants compose the study population. RESULTS: Primary analyses based on all available data indicated that participants in the treatment condition showed a significantly greater decline in traumatic stress symptoms on the Impact of Event Scale (effect size, 0.25) compared with the control condition, but there was no difference in Profile of Mood States total mood disturbance. However, when the final assessment occurring within a year of death was removed, a secondary analysis showed a significantly greater decline in total mood disturbance (effect size, 0.25) and traumatic stress symptoms (effect size, 0.33) for the treatment condition compared with the control condition. CONCLUSION: Supportive-expressive therapy, with its emphasis on providing support and helping patients face and deal with their disease-related stress, can help reduce distress in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Turner-Cobb, J. M., S. E. Sephton, C. Koopman, J. Blake-Mortimer and D. Spiegel (2000). "Social support and salivary cortisol in women with metastatic breast cancer." Psychosom Med 62(3): 337-45.
OBJECTIVE: This study used a cross-sectional design to examine the relationships between social support, both quantity (number of people) and quality (appraisal, belonging, tangible, and self-esteem), and neuroendocrine function (mean and slope of diurnal salivary cortisol) among women with metastatic breast cancer. METHODS: Participants (N = 103) were drawn from a study (N = 125) of the effects of group therapy on emotional adjustment and health in women with metastatic breast cancer. They completed the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List and the Yale Social Support Index and provided saliva samples for assessment of diurnal cortisol levels on each of 3 consecutive days. Diurnal mean levels were calculated using log-transformed cortisol concentrations, and the slope of diurnal cortisol variation was calculated by regression of log-transformed cortisol concentrations on sample collection time. RESULTS: Mean salivary cortisol was negatively related to the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List subscales of appraisal, belonging, and tangible social support. No association was found between quantitative support or the esteem subscale of the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List and mean salivary cortisol. Measures of qualitative and quantitative social support were not associated with the diurnal cortisol slope. CONCLUSIONS: Results show that greater quality of social support is associated with lower cortisol concentrations in women with metastatic breast cancer, which is indicative of healthier neuroendocrine functioning. These results may have clinical implications in the treatment of breast cancer.

Sephton, S. E., R. M. Sapolsky, H. C. Kraemer and D. Spiegel (2000). "Diurnal cortisol rhythm as a predictor of breast cancer survival." J Natl Cancer Inst 92(12): 994-1000.
BACKGROUND:: Abnormal circadian rhythms have been observed in patients with cancer, but the prognostic value of such alterations has not been confirmed. We examined the association between diurnal variation of salivary cortisol in patients with metastatic breast cancer and subsequent survival. We explored relationships between cortisol rhythms, circulating natural killer (NK) cell counts and activity, prognostic indicators, medical treatment, and psychosocial variables. METHODS: Salivary cortisol levels of 104 patients with metastatic breast cancer were assessed at study entry at 0800, 1200, 1700, and 2100 hours on each of 3 consecutive days, and the slope of diurnal cortisol variation was calculated using a regression of log-transformed cortisol concentrations on sample collection time. NK cell numbers were measured by flow cytometry, and NK cell activity was measured by the chromium release assay. The survival analysis was conducted by the Cox proportional hazards regression model with two-sided statistical testing. RESULTS: Cortisol slope predicted subsequent survival up to 7 years later. Earlier mortality occurred among patients with relatively "flat" rhythms, indicating a lack of normal diurnal variation (Cox proportional hazards, P =. 0036). Patients with chest metastases, as opposed to those with visceral or bone metastases, had more rhythmic cortisol profiles. Flattened profiles were linked with low counts and suppressed activity of NK cells. After adjustment for each of these and other factors, the cortisol slope remained a statistically significant, independent predictor of survival time. NK cell count emerged as a secondary predictor of survival. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with metastatic breast cancer whose diurnal cortisol rhythms were flattened or abnormal had earlier mortality. Suppression of NK cell count and NK function may be a mediator or a marker of more rapid disease progression.

Moore, R. J. and D. Spiegel (2000). "Uses of guided imagery for pain control by african-american and white women with metastatic breast cancer." Integr Med 2(2): 115-126.
Understanding the meanings patients attach to their experiences can help clinicians and researchers to more adequately address a patient's experience with cancer pain. Indeed, many patients seem to desire to and benefit from attaching meaning to the disease and its treatment. In particular, many patients are drawn to guided imagery as a tool in the management of cancer-related anxiety and pain. Using excerpts from African-American and White women's breast cancer narratives, we show that breast cancer survivors use guided imagery as a vehicle for reconnecting to the self, to make sense of their experiences with breast cancer, and as a tool for managing cancer pain. Cancer pain increases the disruption in the connection between the body and the mind that is already part of the illness experience. Guided imagery can be regarded as one response to this problem, and may be understood as an attempt to reconnect mind and body in a manner that increases the sense of control, thereby alleviating the suffering of the survivor.

Giese-Davis, J., K. Hermanson, C. Koopman, D. Weibel and D. Spiegel (2000). "Quality of couples' relationship and adjustment to metastatic breast cancer." J Fam Psychol 14(2): 251-66.
This study examined mood disturbance among women with metastatic breast cancer in relationship to partnership status, relationship quality, and partner's coping and mood disturbance. These associations were examined within a total sample of 125 metastatic breast cancer patients and a subsample of 48 of these patients and their partners. Partnered and single women were indistinguishable in mood disturbance when household income was statistically controlled. Results also showed that patients were less distressed when they rated the relationship higher in Cohesion--Expression and in Conflict and when their partners reported lower mood disturbance. One possible implication of these results is that in relationships in which a woman has metastatic cancer, she may benefit from open engagement of difficulties and conflict. Furthermore, alleviating her distress may be better achieved by focus on the couple relationship rather than her individual coping.

Spiegel, D., G. R. Morrow, C. Classen, R. Raubertas, P. B. Stott, N. Mudaliar, H. I. Pierce, P. J. Flynn, L. Heard and G. Riggs (1999). "Group psychotherapy for recently diagnosed breast cancer patients: a multicenter feasibility study." Psychooncology 8(6): 482-93.
As many as 80% of breast cancer patients report significant distress during initial treatment, yet there is little in the way of systematic psychotherapeutic interventions for women coping with the stress of a recent diagnosis of breast cancer. The literature on psychotherapeutic treatment of cancer patients provides uniform evidence for an improvement in mood, coping and adjustment as a result of group therapy. The present study examined the feasibility of implementing a manualized treatment, supportive-expressive group psychotherapy, in busy oncology practices across the US. This intervention was applied to women with primary breast cancer in a manner which tests not only the efficacy of the approach but also its accessibility to group therapists not previously experienced in its use. One hundred and eleven breast cancer patients within 1 year of diagnosis were recruited from ten geographically diverse sites of the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) and two academic medical centers. Two therapists from each site were trained in supportive-expressive group psychotherapy. Training consisted of participation in a workshop, reading a treatment manual, and viewing explanatory videotapes. Each patient participated in a supportive-expressive group that met for 12 weekly sessions lasting 90 min. Assessment of mood disturbance was made at entry, 3, 6, and 12 months. Results indicated a significant 40% decrease in the Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) scores of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) (ANOVA F [2,174]=3.98, p<0.05). The total symptom score of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was likewise significantly reduced over the 6-month period (F [2, 174]=5.2, p<0.01). Similarly, the total score of the Impact of Event Scale (IES) was significantly reduced (F [2,174]=4.0, p<0.05). There was substantial uniformity of treatment effect across sites. Outcome was independent of stage of disease (I vs. II). We conclude that this treatment program can be effectively implemented in a community setting and results in reduced distress among breast cancer patients.

Spiegel, D. (1999). "A 43-year-old woman coping with cancer." Jama 282(4): 371-8.

Butler, L. D., C. Koopman, C. Classen and D. Spiegel (1999). "Traumatic stress, life events, and emotional support in women with metastatic breast cancer: cancer-related traumatic stress symptoms associated with past and current stressors." Health Psychol 18(6): 555-60.
This study examined levels of intrusion and avoidance symptoms and their relationships to past life stress, current emotional support, disease-related variables, and age in 125 women with metastatic breast cancer. The results indicate that a sizable proportion of these women experienced clinically significant levels of intrusion and avoidance symptoms related to their cancer, particularly those with both more stressful past life events and higher current levels of aversive emotional support. Additionally, both types of symptoms were associated with shorter time since recurrence, and avoidance symptoms were associated with smaller emotional support networks. These results indicate that metastatic breast cancer is an emotionally traumatic event for a significant proportion of women, particularly those with past life stressors and unsupportive social environments.

Blake-Mortimer, J., C. Gore-Felton, R. Kimerling, J. M. Turner-Cobb and D. Spiegel (1999). "Improving the quality and quantity of life among patients with cancer: a review of the effectiveness of group psychotherapy." Eur J Cancer 35(11): 1581-6.
Cancer patients suffer from a number of psychosocial problems related to the progression of their disease as well as standard medical interventions. Fortunately, there is empirical evidence suggesting that group psychotherapy is effective at ameliorating psychological distress and in some cases improving survival. For this literature review we examined the psychological morbidity, particularly anxiety and depression, among cancer patients. Further, we conducted a critical examination of the current evidence regarding the effectiveness of group psychotherapy for improving the quality as well as the quantity of life in cancer patients. Finally, we explored the specific components of effective group psychotherapy, which has been associated with enhanced survival. We conclude that there is compelling evidence indicating that group psychotherapy improves the quality of life of cancer patients. Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that group psychotherapy improves survival of cancer patients.

Spiegel, D., S. E. Sephton, A. I. Terr and D. P. Stites (1998). "Effects of psychosocial treatment in prolonging cancer survival may be mediated by neuroimmune pathways." Ann N Y Acad Sci 840: 674-83.
Research has provided growing evidence of links between the social environment and cancer progression. Indeed, social support in the form of marriage, frequent daily contact with others, and the presence of a confidant may all have protective value against cancer progression. Furthermore, retrospective data suggest that major stressful life events are more prevalent in patients with relapse or malignancy, and thus may contribute to cancer morbidity. Initial studies of the effects of psychosocial intervention with cancer patients have provided some promising results. In three randomized prospective trials, protective effects of psychosocial interventions on cancer progression have been confirmed, while one matching and one randomized study showed no survival effect after psychosocial treatment. Though more research is clearly needed in this area, this body of evidence suggests that psychosocial factors have potentially powerful modulating effects on the course of disease. Here we review evidence of one possible mechanism whereby psychosocial factors may influence disease-resistance capabilities: the neuroimmune connection. Suppressive effects of stress on immune function are well documented, and these effects have been shown to be modulated by social support. Thus, it is reasonable to hypothesize that supportive social relationships may buffer the effects of cancer-related stress on immunity, and thereby facilitate the recovery of immune mechanisms that may be important for cancer resistance. Data addressing this hypothesis are reviewed.

Koopman, C., K. Hermanson, S. Diamond, K. Angell and D. Spiegel (1998). "Social support, life stress, pain and emotional adjustment to advanced breast cancer." Psychooncology 7(2): 101-11.
The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between emotional adjustment to advanced breast cancer, pain, social support, and life stress. The cross-sectional sample was compromised of 102 women with metastatic and/or recurrent breast cancer who were recruited into a randomized psychosocial intervention study. All women completed baseline questionnaires assessing demographic and medical variables, social support, life stress, pain, and mood disturbance. Three types of social support were assessed: (1) number of persons in support system; (2) positive support; and (3) aversive support. On the Profile of Mood States (POMS) total score, we found significant interactions between life stress and social support; having more people in the patient's support system was associated with less mood disturbance, but only among patients who had undergone greater life stress. Also, aversive social contact was significantly related to total mood disturbance (POMS), and having more aversive social contact was particularly associated with total mood disturbance (POMS) among patients who had undergone greater life stress. Pain intensity was associated with greater total life stress, and was not significantly related to social support. These results are consistent with the 'buffering hypothesis' that social support may shield women with metastatic breast cancer from the effects of previous life stress on their emotional adjustment; however, aversive support may be an additional source of life stress associated with emotional distress. Also, pain is greater among women with greater life stress, regardless of social support.

Spiegel, D. and R. Moore (1997). "Imagery and hypnosis in the treatment of cancer patients." Oncology (Williston Park) 11(8): 1179-89; discussion 1189-95.
Many patients with cancer often seek some means of connecting their mental activity with the unwelcome events occurring in their bodies, via techniques such as imagery and hypnosis. Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective method for controlling cancer pain. The techniques most often employed involve physical relaxation coupled with imagery that provides a substitute focus of attention for the painful sensation. Other related imagery techniques, such as guided imagery, involve attention to internally generated mental images without the formal use of hypnosis. The most well-known of these techniques involves the use of "positive mental images" of a strong army of white blood cells killing cancer cells. Despite claims to the contrary, no reliable evidence has shown that this technique affects disease progression or survival. Studies evaluating more broadly defined forms psychosocial support have come to conflicting conclusions about whether or not these interventions affect survival of cancer patients. However, 10-year follow-up of a randomized trial involving 86 women with cancer showed that a year of weekly "supportive/expressive" group therapy significantly increased survival duration and time from recurrence to death. This intervention encourages patients to express and deal with strong emotions and also focuses on clarifying doctor-patient communication. Numerous other studies suggest that suppression of negative affect, excessive conformity, severe stress, and lack of social support predict a poorer medical outcome from cancer. Thus, further investigation into the interaction between body and mind in coping with cancer is warranted.

Spiegel, D. (1997). "Psychosocial aspects of breast cancer treatment." Semin Oncol 24(1 Suppl 1): S1-36-S1-47.
Social stress, psychological distress, and psychosocial support effect the adjustment of breast cancer patients, influence their experience of and adherence to medical treatment, and may effect the course of the disease. The literature indicates that levels of distress, depression, and anxiety are substantially elevated among patients with breast cancer. These problems persist in a sizable minority of patients even years after diagnosis. Coping styles are related to adjustment and, in some studies, survival time. The nature of the relationship with physicians affects adjustment to the illness, satisfaction with treatment outcome, and adherence to medical treatment protocols, which can influence relapse and survival. In many but not all studies, serious life stress adversely affects medical outcome. Social support in general and structured psychotherapy in particular have been shown to positively affect both adjustment and survival time. Clear and open communication, expression of appropriate emotion, and collaborative planning and problem-solving enhance adjustment and improve outcome. Conversely, influences that isolate breast cancer patients from others or undermine support can have adverse medical and psychological consequences.

Classen, C., S. Abramson, K. Angell, A. Atkinson, C. Desch, V. P. Vinciguerra, R. J. Rosenbluth, J. J. Kirshner, R. Hart, G. Morrow and D. Spiegel (1997). "Effectiveness of a training program for enhancing therapists' understanding of the supportive-expressive treatment model for breast cancer groups." J Psychother Pract Res 6(3): 211-8.
This study evaluated a training program for leaders of supportive-expressive psychotherapy groups for breast cancer patients. Twenty-four mental health/medical cancer care professionals completed two training phases and were tested for their understanding of the treatment model. Participants' understanding was enhanced as a result of the training program. This study demonstrates that a brief training program can improve therapists' understanding of the treatment model and demonstrates an effective method of evaluation. Future research should examine how performance on these tests generalizes to performance when leading a supportive-expressive group.

Spiegel, D. and P. M. Kato (1996). "Psychosocial influences on cancer incidence and progression." Harv Rev Psychiatry 4(1): 10-26.
The impact of psychosocial factors on the incidence and progression of cancer has become an area that demands attention. In this article recent evidence of psychosocial effects on cancer incidence and progression is reviewed in the context of past research. Psychosocial factors discussed include personality, depression, emotional expression, social support, and stress. Mechanisms that could mediate the relationship between psychosocial conditions and cancer incidence and progression are also reviewed. These include alterations in diet, exercise, and circadian cycles; variations in medical treatment received; and physiological mechanisms such as psychoendocrinologic and psychoneuroimmunologic effects. We conclude that there is a nonrandom relationship among various psychosocial factors and cancer incidence and progression that can only partially be explained by behavioral, structural, or biological factors. Suggestions for future research are discussed.

Spiegel, D. (1996). "Psychological distress and disease course for women with breast cancer: one answer, many questions." J Natl Cancer Inst 88(10): 629-31.

Spiegel, D. (1996). "Cancer and depression." Br J Psychiatry Suppl(30): 109-16.
Half of all cancer patients have a psychiatric disorder, usually an adjustment disorder with depression. Anxiety about illness, such as cancer, often leads to delay in diagnosis, which has been estimated to reduce prospects of long-term cancer survival by 10% to 20%. Although earlier studies showed that depressed individuals were at higher risk for cancer incidence, later studies have not confirmed this predictive relationship. Nonetheless, effective psychotherapeutic treatment for depression has been found to affect the course of cancer. Psychotherapy for medically ill patients results in reduced anxiety and depression, and often pain reduction. In three randomised studies, psychotherapy resulted in longer survival time for patients with breast cancer (18 months), lymphoma, and malignant melanoma. The physiological mechanisms for these findings have not yet been determined, but four fundamental possibilities for psychotherapeutic effects on physiological change include health maintenance behaviour, health-care utilisation, endocrine environment, and immune function. Thus, effective treatment of depression in cancer patients results in better patient adjustment, reduced symptoms, reduced cost of care, and may influence disease course. The treatment of depression in these patients may be considered a part of medical as well as psychiatric treatment.

Classen, C., C. Koopman, K. Angell and D. Spiegel (1996). "Coping styles associated with psychological adjustment to advanced breast cancer." Health Psychol 15(6): 434-7.
The aim of this study was to determine whether psychological adjustment to advanced breast cancer was positively associated with expressing emotion and adopting a fighting spirit and negatively associated with denial and fatalism. Total mood disturbance on the Profile of Mood States was used as the measure of psychological adjustment. The Courtauld Emotional Control Scale measured emotional expression, and the Mental Adjustment to Cancer measured fighting spirit, denial, and fatalism. The sample included 101 women with a diagnosis of metastatic or recurrent breast cancer. Fighting spirit and emotional expressiveness were found to be associated with better adjustment. No association was found between mood disturbance and denial or fatalism. Because this was a cross-sectional study, no conclusions regarding a causal relationship between adjustment and emotional expressiveness or adjustment and fighting spirit were possible.

Spiegel, D. (1995). "How do you feel about cancer now?--survival and psychosocial support." Public Health Rep 110(3): 298-300.

Spiegel, D. (1995). "Essentials of psychotherapeutic intervention for cancer patients." Support Care Cancer 3(4): 252-6.
Psychosocial treatments, including group, individual and family psychotherapies, are of proven efficacy, and deserve inclusion as standard components of biomedical treatment for cancer patients. Anxiety and depression are very common (and treatable) problems among cancer patients, most of whom can benefit from intervention. Psychotherapy, both group and individual, employs three fundamental approaches: emotional expression, social support, and cognitive symptom-management skills. Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in improving quality of life. Results of studies of various psychotherapies include reduction in depression, anxiety, and pain, and improved coping skills, and, in some cases, there is evidence of extended survival time.

Spiegel, D., S. Sands and C. Koopman (1994). "Pain and depression in patients with cancer." Cancer 74(9): 2570-8.
BACKGROUND. Although the existence of a relationship between depression and pain in patients with cancer has been known for many years, the influence of one upon the other is still poorly understood. It has been thought that depressed individuals complain of pain more because of their psychiatric illness. Evidence from two studies indicate that pain may induce clinical depression. METHODS. In the first study, the authors examined both current and lifetime psychiatric diagnoses among patients with cancer who had high and low pain symptoms to examine the strength of the relationship between depression and cancer pain. The sample consisted of 72 women and 24 men, with 39 women and 9 men in the high pain group, and 33 women and 15 men in the low pain group. In the second study, 35 patients with metastatic carcinoma of the breast were examined for pain intensity and frequency and mood disturbance. RESULTS. The prevalence of depressive disorders of all types was found to be significantly higher in the high pain than in the low pain group across measures, 33 versus 13% (chi-square [degrees of freedom = 1] = 5.90, P < 0.05). Furthermore, there was a significantly higher history of major depression in the low pain group than in the high pain group (chi-square [degrees of freedom = 1] = 3.86, P < 0.05). Also, in comparison with patients in the low pain group, patients in the high pain group were significantly more anxious and emotionally distressed. In the second study, pain intensity correlated significantly with fatigue, vigor, and total mood disturbance, and pain frequency correlated significantly with fatigue, vigor, and depression. CONCLUSIONS. This study confirms the high concomitant occurrence of pain and psychiatric morbidity and suggests that pain may play a causal role in producing depression.

Spiegel, D. (1994). "Health caring. Psychosocial support for patients with cancer." Cancer 74(4 Suppl): 1453-7.
Psychosocial treatments, including group, individual, and family therapies, are of proven efficacy and deserve inclusion as standard components of biomedical treatment for patients with cancer. Four issues regarding such treatment are reviewed. The first is need. Significant anxiety and depression are common (and treatable) problems among the medically ill and represent a major aspect of the burden of illness. Even those with less severe emotional reactions need help coping with the stress of serious illness. The second is methods. Psychotherapy, both group and individual, provides valuable emotional and social support and teaches important symptom management skills. The third is outcome. Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in improving quality of life and enhancing the ability of the medically ill to cope with their illness. Results of various psychotherapies include reducing depression and anxiety, improving coping skills, and in some cases, extending survival time. The fourth is cost offset. Appropriate psychotherapeutic intervention saves money by reducing unnecessary office visits, diagnostic tests, medical procedures, and hospital admittance.

Spiegel, D. (1993). "Psychosocial intervention in cancer." J Natl Cancer Inst 85(15): 1198-205.

Spiegel, D. (1990). "Can psychotherapy prolong cancer survival?" Psychosomatics 31(4): 361-6.

Spiegel, D., J. R. Bloom, H. Kraemer and E. Gottheil (1989). "Psychological support for cancer patients." Lancet 2(8677): 1447.

Spiegel, D. (1985). "The use of hypnosis in controlling cancer pain." CA Cancer J Clin 35(4): 221-31.

Bloom, J. R. and D. Spiegel (1984). "The relationship of two dimensions of social support to the psychological well-being and social functioning of women with advanced breast cancer." Soc Sci Med 19(8): 831-7.
Of interest to the field is the mechanism through which social support acts as a resistance resource for individuals undergoing stressful life circumstances. Women with advanced breast cancer (N = 86) were interviewed to determine how their outlook on life and social functioning were affected by the social support they received. Emotional support provided by the family was predicted to affect the woman's sense of well-being whereas the opportunities for social exchange provided by one's social activities were expected to effect the woman's social functioning. Consistent with the predictions, the data indicate that social support is multidimensional. Emotional support was strongly related to one's outlook. However, one's opportunities for social exchange affect not only one's social functioning, but also one's outlook on life, suggesting an interactive process whereby family support improves outlook, both outlook and opportunities for social exchange are related to one's sense of social functioning. These data explain the erosion of social support during life-threatening illness such as cancer as a result of the limitations imposed by the illness on one's opportunities for social exchange.

Spiegel, D. and J. R. Bloom (1983). "Pain in metastatic breast cancer." Cancer 52(2): 341-5.
The pain experiences of 86 women with metastatic carcinoma of the breast were systematically evaluated over a period of one year. Fifty-six percent of the sample reported experiencing pain, and the intensity of pain was not significantly related to site of metastasis. Multiple regression analysis revealed that 50% of the variance in the pain experience was accounted for by: (1) the amount of mood disturbance as measured by the Profile of Mood States (POMS); (2) the patients' belief that the pain indicated worsening of the illness; and (3) the use of analgesic medication. The nature of family support, social functioning, and coping responses were not significantly associated with pain intensity, nor was mortality during the one-year follow-up period. These data document the significance of psychological factors in accounting for differences in pain experience and document the interaction between pain and mood disturbance. These findings suggest that treatment of metastatic pain should include attention to the patient's mood and adjustment to the illness.

Spiegel, D., J. R. Bloom and I. Yalom (1981). "Group support for patients with metastatic cancer. A randomized outcome study." Arch Gen Psychiatry 38(5): 527-33.
The effects of weekly supportive group meetings for women with metastatic carcinoma of the breast were systematically evaluated in a one-year, randomized, prospective outcome study. The groups focused on the problems of terminal illness, including improving relationships with family, friends, and physicians and living as fully as possible in the face of death. We hypothesized that this invention would lead to improved mood, coping strategies, and self-esteem among those in the treatment group. Eighty-six patients were tested at four-month intervals. The treatment group had significantly lower mood-disturbance scores on the Profile of Mood States scale, had fewer maladaptive coping responses, and were less phobic than the control group. This study provides objective evidence that a supportive group intervention for patients with metastatic cancer results in psychological benefit. Mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of this group intervention are explored.

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