A Mindfulness-Based Meditation Pilot Study: Lessons Learned on Acceptability and Feasibility in Adolescents with Cancer
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A growing body of research has documented the psychological impact of cancer on adolescents (such as symptoms of depression, anxiety and withdrawal). Findings from the adult literature suggest that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are a promising treatment option for helping individuals manage cancer and alleviate the associated psychological symptoms. The aim of the present pilot study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a MBI for adolescents with cancer and examine its potential positive impact on sleep, mood, and quality of life. Over 9 months of recruitment, 481 youth were screened for participation in this project. Of these, 418 (86.9 %) were excluded because they lived further than 1 h from the intervention site, had no history of cancer, had died or were not reachable by telephone. Of the 63 who were contacted, only 7 (1.4 %) agreed to participate, gave their consent, and provided a complete dataset. A prospective quasi-experimental pretest–posttest design with two groups (experimental; n = 7 and no treatment; n = 7) was used to assess the MBI. Only participants from the experimental group completed follow-up measures at 6 months. Repeated-measure ANOVAs were conducted to assess the impact of the intervention. No significant differences between or within groups were found pre to post assessment and at follow-up. A narrow pool of eligible participants, a high refusal rate, school scheduling conflicts and absenteeism had a significant impact on the final sample size. Suggestions to conduct future trials are presented. Larger randomized-controlled trials are necessary to assess whether MBIs have significant beneficial effects in teenagers with cancer.
KeywordsMindfulness-based meditation Pediatric cancer Psycho-oncology Adolescence Mood Sleep Quality of life
The authors wish to thank Serge Sultan, Ph.D. for his input on the project and assistance in its implementation, as well as Gilles Dupuis, Ph.D. for feedback on the statistical treatment of data. Funding for this project was provided by scholarships to Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise from the Canadian Institute for Health Research, the Fonds de Recherche en Société et Culture du Québec, as well as the Faculté des Études Supérieures de l’Université de Montréal.
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Conflict of interest
Authors declare no competing interests.
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