Brief cognitive-behavioral and relaxation training interventions for breast cancer: A randomized controlled trial

Lisa M. Gudenkauf, Michael H. Antoni, Jamie M. Stagl, Suzanne C. Lechner, Devika R. Jutagir, Laura C. Bouchard, Bonnie B. Blomberg, Stefan Glück, Robert P. Derhagopian, Gladys L. Giron, Eli Avisar, Manuel A. Torres-Salichs, Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: Women with breast cancer (BCa) report elevated distress postsurgery. Group-based cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) following surgery improves psychological adaptation, though its key mechanisms remain speculative. This randomized controlled dismantling trial compared 2 interventions featuring elements thought to drive CBSM effects: a 5-week cognitive-behavioral training (CBT) and 5-week relaxation training (RT) versus a 5-week health education (HE) control group. Method: Women with stage 0-III BCa (N = 183) were randomized to CBT, RT, or HE condition 2-10 weeks postsurgery. Psychosocial measures were collected at baseline (T1) and postintervention (T2). Repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) tested whether CBT and RT treatments improved primary measures of psychological adaptation and secondary measures of stress management resource perceptions from pre- to postintervention relative to HE. Results: Both CBT and RT groups reported reduced depressive affect. The CBT group reported improved emotional well-being/quality of life and less cancer-specific thought intrusions. The RT group reported improvements on illness-related social disruption. Regarding stress management resources, the CBT group reported increased reliability of social support networks, while the RT group reported increased confidence in relaxation skills. Psychological adaptation and stress management resource constructs were unchanged in the HE control group. Conclusions: Nonmetastatic breast cancer patients participating in 2 forms of brief, 5-week group-based stress management intervention after surgery showed improvements in psychological adaptation and stress management resources compared with an attention-matched control group. Findings provide preliminary support suggesting that using brief group-based stress management interventions may promote adaptation among nonmetastatic breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-688
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • breast cancer
  • cognitive- behavioral therapy
  • distress
  • relaxation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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