The efficacy of Life Review Therapy combined with Memory Specificity Training (LRT-MST) targeting cancer patients in palliative care: A randomized controlled trial

G. Kleijn, B.I. Witte , E.T. Bohlmeijer, B. Steunenberg, K. Knipscheer, V. Willemsen, A. Becker, E.F. Smit, C.M. Eeltink, A.M.E. Bruynzeel, M. van der Vorst, M. de Bree, C.R. Leemans, M.W.M. van den Brekel, P. Cuijpers, I.M. Verdonck-de Leeuw

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Abstract

Background
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention combining Life Review Therapy (LRT) and Memory Specificity Training (MST) (LRT-MST) to improve ego-integrity and despair among cancer patients in palliative care.
Methods
In this multicentre randomized controlled trial, cancer patients in palliative care were randomized to the intervention group (LRT-MST; n = 55) or waiting-list control group (n = 52). LRT-MST is a 4-session home-based psychological intervention that aims to retrieve specific positive memories, to re-evaluate life events and to reconstruct the story of a patient’s life, including the diagnosis of incurable cancer. Outcome measures were ego-integrity and despair (NEIS), psychological distress, anxiety and depression (HADS), quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL), and specificity of the autobiographical memory (AMT). NEIS, HADS and EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL were assessed at baseline (T0), 1 month later (post-treatment; T1), and at 1 month follow-up (T2). AMT was assessed at T0 and T1. Linear mixed models (intention to treat) were used to assess group differences in changes over time. Independent samples t-tests were used to assess group differences at T0, T1, and T2, and effect sizes (ES) were calculated at T1 and T2.
Results
The course of ego-integrity (not despair) improved significantly over time (p = .007) in the intervention group compared to the waiting-list control group, with moderate, but insignificant, effect sizes at T1 (ES = .42) and T2 (ES = .48). Compliance rate was 69% and total dropout rate was 28%, both primarily related to disease progression and death.
Conclusions
LRT-MST seems effective among cancer patients in palliative care to improve the course of ego-integrity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0197277
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018

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