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The objectives of this study were to obtain patient evaluations of the content, structure, and delivery modality of Meaning-Centered Pain Coping Skills Training (MCPC), a novel psychosocial intervention for patients with advanced cancer and pain. MCPC aims to help patients connect with valued sources of meaning in their lives (e.g., family relationships), while providing training in evidence-based cognitive and behavioral skills (e.g., guided imagery) to reduce pain.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 patients with stage IV solid tumor cancers and persistent pain. Transcripts were analyzed using methods from applied thematic analysis.
When evaluating MCPC's educational information and skills training descriptions, participants described ways in which this content resonated with their experience. Many coped with their pain and poor prognosis by relying on frameworks that provided them with a sense of meaning, often involving their personally held religious or spiritual beliefs. They also expressed a need for learning ways to cope with pain in addition to taking medication. A few participants offered helpful suggestions for refining MCPC's content, such as addressing common co-occurring symptoms of sleep disturbance and fatigue. Concerning MCPC's structure and delivery modality, most participants preferred that sessions include their family caregiver and described remote delivery (i.e., telephone or videoconference) as being more feasible than attending in-person sessions.
Significance of results
Participants were interested in an intervention that concurrently focuses on learning pain coping skills and enhancing a sense of meaning. Using remote delivery modalities may reduce access barriers (e.g., travel) that would otherwise prevent many patients from utilizing psychosocial services.
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