The purpose of this study is to determine whether cancer patients who receive the
mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) program demonstrate improvement in health-related
quality of life, a reduction in stress-related symptoms, and enhanced coping responses.
Psychosocial interventions, especially supportive-expressive group therapies, have been
associated with significant improvements in health status, quality of life and coping
behaviors, in patients with cancer. The purpose of the proposed pilot research study is to
investigate a newly developed group therapy for cancer patients, MBAT. This proposed,
randomized, controlled study follows a successful preliminary investigation of MBAT
conducted at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. MBAT integrates known benefits of art
therapy, group therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Each of these fundamentally
different modalities has documented usefulness in the treatment of cancer patients. The
multi-modal approach is designed to enhance both the supportive and expressive aspects of
the group experience. The study will be done with 96 patients who have a variety of cancer
types. Participants will be matched for age and assigned randomly to either the MBAT
experimental group or a non-intervention control group. Both groups will continue to receive
their usual oncologic/medical care. The MBAT program consists of eight weekly meetings of
two and one half-hours in length. At the end of the eight weeks, participants in the control
group will be crossed over to the experimental intervention arm for an additional eight
weeks. Participants will be assessed pre- and post-intervention on measures of
health-related quality of life, psychological distress, and coping, using standardized
outcome instruments (SF-36, SCL-90-R and COPE). Our long-term goal is to collect sufficient
data to determine the overall efficacy of this promising intervention and to identify which
patients are particularly likely to benefit from MBAT.
- Diagnosis of cancer or cancer recurrence within the past 2 years.
- Able to tolerate 8 weekly groups, 2 1/2 hours in length
- Less than 4 months from original or recurrent diagnosis or beyond 2 years
- Physically unable to attend groups
- Non-stabilized major mental disorder
- Comprehension of written and spoken English at a level of less than 4th grade.