Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors report substantial distress, fatigue, and concerns with body image and social relationships that may impede successful reintegration into life activities/roles after treatment completion. Mindfulness and self-compassion are skills for managing distress, hardships, and perceived personal inadequacies. Considering the relative rarity of cancer diagnoses in AYAs, an innovative, distance-based modality is essential for broadening intervention outreach to these geographically dispersed areas.
The aims of this study were:
- to determine the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention and
- to investigate preliminary outcomes (e.g., distress, body image, social isolation, posttraumatic growth, resilience).
In this feasibility study of a videoconference Mindful-Self-Compassion (MSC) 8-week intervention for young cancer survivors, survivors age 18-29 were nationally recruited through social media (Facebook, Twitter), university mass email, letters mailed to oncology clinic patients, and online national study recruitment websites. Participants were enrolled in rolling blocks of one of five videoconference groups. The intervention, modified from the adult MSC program and the adolescent Making Friends with Yourself program, was tailored to this innovative videoconference modality.
This intervention was led by an MSC-trained instructor who was also one of the creators of the MFY program, and consisted of eight weekly 90-minute videoconference sessions, supplemented by home practice. Twenty-five females participated; intervention acceptability was high; 95% reported being satisfied with participating through videoconference. Most psychosocial outcomes demonstrated significant improvements with large effect sizes. These findings support a future larger trial of our intervention to assist posttreatment young survivors in navigating psychosocial challenges in survivorship.