Volume 7, Issue 2 (October 2009)                   Iranian Rehabilitation Journal 2009, 7(2): 13-19 | Back to browse issues page

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1- University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Abstract:   (9617 Views)

Objectives: Major depression and anxiety disorders are common psychiatric disorders among cancer patients and are associated with psychosocial impairment and decreased quality of life. Depressed and anxious cancer patients also experience a more rapid progression of cancer symptoms, increased mortality, more metastasis and pain, and increased medical utilization. Although some research has explored psychological interventions with cancer patients, outcome studies investigating the benefits of behavior therapy among cancer patients with well diagnosed depression and anxiety are new. So the aim of this study was to introduce a new psychotherapy for depression and anxiety in cancer patients.

Methods: Behavioral activation (BA) is a structured, brief psychosocial approach that aims to alleviate depression and anxiety and prevent future relapse by focusing directly on behavior change. The treatment aims to increase activation systematically in ways that help cancer patients to experience greater contact with sources of reward in their lives and to solve life problems. The treatment procedures focus directly on activation, and on processes that inhibit activation, such as escape and avoidance behaviors and ruminative thinking of cancer patients, to increase experiences that are pleasurable or productive and improve their life context.

Results: Results of various studies have shown the effectiveness of BA on reducing depression and anxiety and increasing of quality of life in patients with cancer. Researchers also report strong treatment integrity, good patient compliance, excellent patient satisfaction with the BA protocol, and significant pre–post treatment gains across measures assessing depression, quality of life, and medical outcomes.

Discussion: We believe that BA is an important new treatment for depression and anxiety in cancer patients for two main reasons. First, its efficacy is supported by recent empirical research second, it is based on simple and easily grasped underlying principles and utilizes a small set of straightforward procedure. BA may represent a practical primary care treatment that may remedy problems associated with cancer.

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Article type: Original Research Articles |
Received: 2009/07/16 | Accepted: 2009/09/12 | Published: 2009/10/1

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