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The present study intended to evaluate the impact of a standardized format—called the “Music Givers,” based on a single session of music intervention followed by a buffet—on the psychological burden and well-being of hospitalized cancer patients.
The Distress Thermometer (DT), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and self-reported visual analogue scales (score range = 1–10) to assess pain, fatigue, and five areas of well-being (i.e., physical, psychological, relational, spiritual, and overall well-being) were administered to 242 cancer patients upon admission to and at discharge from the hospital. Among them, 103 were hospitalized during which time a live concert took place (intervention group), whereas 139 patients were hospitalized when it did not (control group).
Compared to the control group, patients in the intervention group demonstrated less distress at discharge according to the DT (adjusted estimate of difference = –0.8, p = 0.001), lower HADS–Anxiety (–1.7, p < 0.001) and HADS–Depression scores (–1.3, p = 0.001), and higher scores on all the well-being scales, with the exception of spiritual well-being. In addition, no between-group differences were found in terms of pain and fatigue scores at discharge.
Significance of results:
The one-session format of the Music Givers intervention is an effective, standardized, easy-to-replicate, and low-cost intervention that reduces psychological burden and improves the well-being of hospitalized cancer patients. Listening to live music and the opportunity to establish better relationships between patients and staff could explain these results.
The present study is the result of theory-driven research investigating the role of the search for and presence of meaning in enhancing both mental adjustment and eudaimonic well-being in cancer patients.
A cross-sectional study involved 266 cancer patients currently in the treatment and management phase of their illness. Data were collected by a written questionnaire. The search for meaning was assessed with the Seeking of Noetic Goals Test, and the presence of meaning was assessed using the Purpose in Life Test. Mental adjustment to a cancer diagnosis was assessed by two subscales of the Italian version of the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale, and eudaimonic well-being was assessed with the Psychological Well-Being Scale. Correlation and mediation analyses based on five thousand bootstrapping samples were performed.
The mediation analyses showed that the presence of meaning totally or partially mediated the effect of the search for meaning on both mental adjustment and eudaimonic well-being. Further correlation analyses showed a high negative correlation between eudaimonic well-being and hopelessness.
Significance of results:
Our results appear relevant from both the theoretical and clinical points of view. They support a deeper understanding of the combined contribution of the search for and presence of meaning in promoting well-being in cancer patients. Simultaneously, they are consistent with suggestions from recent studies on the clinical psychology of posttraumatic growth and emphasize the relevance of eudaimonic well-being as a protective factor for hopelessness.
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