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Mindfulness for the self-management of negative coping, rumination and fears of compassion in people with cancer: a mixed methods feasibility study

Williams, S. (2021). Mindfulness for the self-management of negative coping, rumination and fears of compassion in people with cancer: a mixed methods feasibility study. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

Abstract

Background
The psychological impact of living with and beyond cancer can be considerable. Evaluations of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) suggest beneficial effects in anxiety, depression and distress in those with the disease. However, there is little research into whether a cancer-specific MBI helps with the self-management of negative coping, rumination and fears of compassion.

Aims
Exploring the perceived impact of a tailored, mindfulness-based intervention on coping, ruminating and fears of compassion in those with cancer, by examining inter and intra-individual change in a mixed-methods, sequential explanatory design.

Methods
A single group, non-experimental, repeated measures study of 22 participants across six cancer care centres investigated the efficacy of an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Cancer (MBCT-Ca) course. The Reliable Change Index (RCI) examined significant improvement, deterioration, or no change in individuals on the Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (MACS), the Ruminative Responses Scale (RRS) and the Fears of Compassion Scale (FCS). Qualitative interviews with ten participants were analysed using Reflexive Thematic Analysis.

Results
Results suggest a significant decrease in negative adjustment to cancer, depressive, and brooding rumination (ranges: p <0.001 to p <0.05, t = - 2.65 to 6.71, d = 0.3 – 0.5) and fears of compassion towards the self (p <.05, z = -2.019, d = 0.4) post-MBI. There was a strong relationship between fearing self-compassion, accepting it or showing it to others (p <.001), and ruminative thinking (p <.001).
Most participants (n = 18) reported significant positive change in at least one measure, however many acknowledged that both compassion and mindfulness can be challenging in the face of cancer.

Discussion
Findings indicate that the MBCT-Ca programme can significantly reduce negative coping, ruminating and fears of self-compassion, potentially improving psychological health and wellbeing in cancer survivors.

Implications
The psycho-social benefits of a disease-specific MBI can be wide-ranging. However, established protocols, experienced teachers and an understanding of the complexity of emotions in the context of cancer, are crucial to its efficacy.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Date available in CRO: 17 Nov 2021 15:15
Date deposited: 17 November 2021
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/27109
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