Facilitating the integration of emotional states in patients' personal disease experience with cancer: A new brief intervention for managing psychological distress

Maria Antonietta Annunziata, Barbara Muzzatti, Lorena Giovannini, Sara Mella, Francesca Bomben, Cristiana Flaiban, Andrea Veronesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: This paper describes an intervention performed at an Italian oncological institute to manage psychological distress related to the oncological experience. Its objectives are to encourage and normalize awareness of the importance of emotional aspects of the cancer experience, to provide psycho-education to patients on the importance of psycho-social care in promoting well-being, and to introduce our psychology service and promote its usage. Methods: The intervention consists of three consecutive steps: the psychological distress screening; the clinical interview, which is conducted according to Rogers' client-centered model; and the collection of data regarding the appreciation and usefulness of the initiative, performed through a feedback questionnaire and the codification of the interview contents. Results: Between September 2011 and February 2012, the intervention was administered to 484 consecutive new inpatients. Among them, the prevalence of psychological distress and its components of anxiety and depression are comparable to those found in the literature. The low percentage of participants who refuse the screening (15.4 %) as well as of those who do not wish to have the results returned to them (3.1 %), together with the high scores regarding the usefulness and effectiveness given to the intervention (all >80/100), documents the positive reception of this activity. Lastly, the analysis of the contents of the exit interview shows that a wide range of themes, far more varied and heterogeneous than just anxiety and/or depression symptoms, was discussed. Conclusions: Even though this was a clinical and not a research activity, it still offers important descriptive data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1815-1819
Number of pages5
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013



  • Assessment
  • Cancer
  • Oncology
  • Psychological distress
  • Psychological intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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