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Title: Exploring women's experiences with breast cancer and the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions in relation to mental wellbeing and treatment compliance in patients residing in the state of Qatar
Author: Alsulaiman, Reem Jawad
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 2734
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2017
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Introduction: An insufficient number of studies have been carried out in the Middle East exploring the variables that contribute to breast cancer patients’ psychological distress. In addition, very few studies exist that evaluate the role of structured psychotherapeutic interventions in enhancing breast cancer patients’ psychological well-being and quality of life. This study has been designed to address this limitation by conducting a mixed-method approach to explore women’s experiences with the diagnosis of breast cancer and with two structured psychotherapeutic interventions, namely, ‘crisis counselling’ and ‘psycho-education’. Methods: A total of 201 women with early stage breast cancer from the State of Qatar were recruited and randomised into either the control group or one of the treatment groups (crisis counselling and psycho-education). The aim of the quantitative approach was to evaluate the short- and long-term benefits of the crisis counselling and psycho-education interventions, in terms of improving patients’ psychological well-being, quality of life and treatment compliance. This was achieved by asking all patients to complete the DASS21 and QLQ-C30 instruments at different points in time and by monitoring their compliance with treatment. Later, a qualitative approach was utilised: twelve Arab patients from the treatment groups were invited to attend focus-group interviews in order to explore their experience with the diagnosis of breast cancer and with the study interventions. Results: the qualitative results of this study revealed that fear of social stigma, difficulty coping with fatigue and body image changes, and altered intrafamilial/sexual relationships contribute significantly to Arab women’s psychological distress. The quantitative results revealed that both of the study interventions were effective in improving women’s psychological well-being and quality of life over time but had no impact on patients’ compliance with treatment. In addition, the study showed that psycho-education conferred a greater advantage than did the crisis counselling model, especially on improving women’s psychological well-being over time. Conclusion: The results of this study will significantly aid health care professionals in the State of Qatar to improve the care of breast cancer patients, through awareness-raising education about the disease and its associated social stigma and by initiating changes to the psychotherapeutic services through the implementation of crisis counselling and psycho-education interventions in the future.
Supervisor: Doodson, Lisa Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Not available
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychotherapy and Counselling