Psychological intervention with couples facing breast cancer: A systematic review

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Psychology & Health



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Objective: Information about psychological intervention with couples coping with breast cancer is not well-disseminated. This can be explained, at least in part, by the absence of knowledge about the efficacy of this kind of intervention. The aim of the present systematic review is to identify and describe psychological interventions for couples coping with breast cancer and evaluate their efficacy.

Design: Studies identified by a searching multiple literature databases related to health and psychology between 1975 and 2013. Rigorous inclusion and exclusion criteria were utilised.

Results: Of 129 abstracts, 13 were extracted for further analysis and a final ten studies were deemed eligible for inclusion. Data were extracted from each study regarding study sample characteristics, design, results and methodological limitations. The results obtained were mixed in regard to efficacy, although the overwhelming majority of studies (eight studies) found benefits for both women and their partners in some dimensions, such as quality of life, psychological distress, relationship functioning and physical symptoms associated with cancer.

Conclusion: Psychological interventions for couples coping with breast cancer appear to be effective for both women and their partners. However, further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of couple-based interventions and, to identify for whom and how they are more effective.