Evaluating the use of poetry to improve well-being and emotional resilience in cancer patients

  • Tegnér I
  • Fox J
  • Philipp R
 et al. 
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The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the use of a group poetry therapy intervention with cancer patients utilizing a support center. It was hypothesized that the intervention would increase their emotional resilience and psychological well-being by encouraging the expression of emotions. Design and method . Twelve female patients have participated in the study. In a crossover design, half experienced a series of six weekly poetry groups while the rest acted as controls in a “waiting” period before experiencing the same intervention. Outcome measures . Participants completed a self-report questionnaire pre and posttest, which contained four short scales: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS); the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (Mini-Mac); the Courtauld Emotional Control Scale (CECS); and the Post-traumatic Growth Inventory. Results . The hypothesis received partial support. There was a significant decrease in suppression of emotions as measured by the CECS and in anxiety as measured by HADS in those who experienced the poetry intervention. There were no changes on these measures in the control group. Conclusions . It was concluded in this pilot study that a poetry therapy intervention may improve emotional resilience and anxiety levels in cancer patients; however, larger randomized control group trials are needed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cancer
  • Coping
  • Emotional control
  • Emotional resilience
  • Poetry therapy
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Well-being

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  • Ingrid Tegnér

  • John Fox

  • Robin Philipp

  • Pamela Thorne

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