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The needs and wishes of cancer patients regarding a smartphone-supported self-help intervention based on self-compassion and mindfulness exercises : a qualitative study

Peeters, N.J. (2017) The needs and wishes of cancer patients regarding a smartphone-supported self-help intervention based on self-compassion and mindfulness exercises : a qualitative study.

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Abstract:Background: Cancer and its treatment can have an enormous impact on the quality of life and the psychological well-being of the patient. Self-compassion and mindfulness are strongly associated with psychological well-being and could be of great help for cancer patients to cope with their cancer and its treatment. Smartphone applications play an important role in the daily lives of most people and therefore could be used for the development of an intervention. There is however no smartphone intervention available for cancer patients, based on self-compassion and mindfulness. This qualitative study examined the cancer patient's interest in a smartphone-supported self-help intervention based on self-compassion and mindfulness exercises. The aim of this study was to identify the needs and wishes of cancer patients regarding such an intervention. Methods: Semi structured interviews were conducted with eleven cancer patients, who varied in terms of age, gender, education, employment, type and stage of disease. Patients were asked about their background, their experience/appreciation of the book “Mindfulness bij kanker” and their experience/appreciation of the mock-ups of a potential app. Furthermore, the features of the app were evaluated and their suggestions and conclusions were discussed. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed by one coder, using deductive and inductive analysis. Results: Most of the cancer patients in this study evaluated self-compassion as important. Self-compassion could raise their awareness to be kind towards themselves and could help them to be less critical towards themselves. A majority was positive about mindfulness: it could calm them down in moments of stress and it could raise their awareness of their thoughts and feelings. Almost all respondents were positive about delivering the intervention in the form of a smartphone app: it is fun, easy accessible and offers variation and possibilities. Most popular features of the app were personalization and tailoring, monitoring, push notifications and uploading information for research purposes. Most respondents rated all the example exercises as relevant. Eleven of the eighteen exercises were even positively rated by a great majority of the respondents. These eleven exercises were almost equally divided over the four deduced categories: insight giving, mindfulness/relaxation, enlarging positive emotions and relation with others. Almost all respondents would like to receive the app. A majority of them would also like to receive a hand-out with concise literature about self-compassion and mindfulness. All of the respondents would like to receive this smartphone intervention straight after the diagnosis of having cancer. Conclusions: The cancer patients in this study indicated to appreciate a smartphone-supported self-help intervention based on self-compassion and mindfulness exercises. This study provides important information about their needs and wishes concerning the content of such an intervention. These needs and wishes could be taken into account when an intervention is developed. Such a smartphone-supported self-help intervention could improve the psychological well-being of cancer patients.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/72260
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