Mária TASNÁDI, Csaba László DÉGI*
Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Nowadays, cancer is affecting society at large, which makes the development of mental health care an important factor in oncology. This aspect affects Romania in a specific way, since the country is still struggling with deficiencies. The major aim of this paper was to investigate the possible positive effect of an intervention tailored to offer emotional and social support for cancer outpatients, improving mental health outside the hospital. The initial assessment was carried out with eight persons, while seven persons received psychosocial intervention. The intervention consisted of eight sessions, with practices of expressive writing and mindfulness-based activities. With the help of distress screening instruments, we monitored the values of psychosocial variables, thus learning about the psychosocial condition of cancer outpatients, values of emotional distress and the need for help, as well as changes in distress and in the number of perceived problems during the intervention. Original assumptions have been partly proven in the course of individual evaluations: five cases out of the seven yielded decreased or stagnant results, while the increase in certain indicators might be explained by an aggravated disease state, lack of social support, and negative life events which occurred during intervention. During the pre-test phase, we did not find significant differences with any of the variables between the two groups, while the post-test indicated significant differences between the two groups in terms of anxiety and depression. Consequently, social and emotional support was provided, need for help was properly met, and social isolation decreased – in the light of all these, this intervention may be considered in further studies to refine the positive effect within terms of mental health protection this specific population.
KEYWORDS: mental health, cancer outpatients, mindfulness, expressive writing
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