Education and peer discussion group interventions and adjustment to breast cancer.

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description


We report a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of education-based and peer discussion-based group interventions on adjustment to breast cancer.


Women with stage I, II, or III breast cancer (n = 312) were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 group conditions: control, education, peer discussion, or education plus peer discussion (combination). Seven groups (each comprising 8-12 women) were conducted in each of the 4 conditions (28 groups total). Adjustment was measured before the intervention, immediately after the intervention, and 6 months after the intervention.


Consistently positive effects on adjustment were seen in the education groups both immediately following and 6 months after the intervention. There were no benefits of participation in peer discussion groups, and some indications of adverse effects on adjustment at both follow-up examinations. The effects could be explained by changes in self-esteem, body image, and intrusive thoughts about the illness.


Education-based group interventions facilitated the initial adjustment of women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. There was no evidence of benefits from peer discussion group interventions.




Published In

Arch Gen Psychiatry. , 56, 4, 340-347.