When joining the group, and on a 6-monthly basis thereafter, women are asked to consent to filling in a series of self-report questionnaires. Since 2001 these included the Affects Balance Scale and the Impact of Event Scale which measures mood and how the diagnosis of secondary breast cancer is experienced by women. In 2005 we introduced five other questionnaires, which measure quality of life, coping responses to having cancer, social support and family functioning. All of these have been used in studies of groups for women with secondary breast cancer, including an Australian RCT.
Ongoing evaluation (both qualitative and quantitative) of the combined face to face and teleconference Groups have found similar benefits to face to face groups.
Ongoing evaluation has also found that the telephone is an acceptable and convenient means of delivering the service, with the added benefit that it allows sick women, and those in rural areas to access the group.
Our evaluations have also demonstrated significant improvement in positive affects (affection, joy and contentment) and significant reduction in negative affects (depression and anxiety) and stress response (intrusion and avoidance) after 12 months in the group.
To access a handout summarising these outcomes, click here