Cancer patients experience various psychological and social difficulties, the most common being depression and anxiety. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an app-based cognitive behavioral therapy program for depression and anxiety in cancer patients. For this purpose, 63 participants who met the inclusion criteria were randomly assigned to either a mobile-application-based cognitive behavioral therapy program (HARUToday), a simple information-provision mobile-application-based program (HARUCard), or a waitlist control group. Self-report questionnaires including the Beck Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Health-Related Quality of Life Scale, Dysfunctional Attitude Scale, and two computer tasks including the dot-probe task and the Implicit Association Test, were administered before and after 66 days of intervention. The results showed that the Beck Depression Inventory and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores of the cognitive behavioral therapy program (HARUToday) group decreased significantly after the intervention compared to the attention control (HARUCard) and waitlist control groups. However, there were no significant changes in scores of the Health-Related Quality of Life Scale and Dysfunctional Attitude Scale, and the two computer tasks. Such results suggest that a mobile-application-based cognitive behavioral therapy program may be an effective intervention for alleviating depression and anxiety, but not the general quality of life of cancer patients. Taking into consideration that psychosocial problems may not the topmost priority for cancer patients who are facing a chronic and possibly mortal disease, a mobile-application cognitive behavioral therapy program may be a possible solution for the alleviation of depression and anxiety in cancer patients who have many restraints in terms of time and space.
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