Background: At the time of diagnosis, patients with cancer are highly exposed to the risk of psychological morbidity. The effects of psychosocial intervention for newly diagnosed cancer patients have not been extensively studied. Objective: The objective of this study was to test the effects of a dyadic peer support intervention on self-efficacy, anxiety, depression, and mental adjustment among newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in Korea. METHODS: This study used a randomized controlled trial design. One hundred twenty-nine patients were recruited within 1 month of diagnosis with breast cancer in the National Cancer Center in Korea. The study participants were randomly assigned to either experimental (n = 64) or control (n = 65) group. The experimental group underwent dyadic peer support intervention during the 6 weeks after surgery. The control group received the usual care. RESULTS: There was a significant difference in changes in self-efficacy for self-management of breast cancer between the experimental and control groups; however, no significant changes were observed in anxiety, depression, and mental adjustment between the 2 groups. CONCLUSIONS: A 6-week dyadic peer support intervention was feasible and effective for increasing self-efficacy for self-management among newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in Korea. However, this intervention did not improve other psychological outcomes. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Oncology nurses are optimally positioned to promote adjustment in patients with cancer. Trained peer support partners, supervised by skilled nurses, may be useful in improving self-efficacy of patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
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