Targeting cancer patients' quality of life through social comparison: A randomised trial

Brakel, T. M., Dijkstra, A. & Buunk, A. P., 3-Aug-2014, In : Psychology & Health. 29, 8, p. 950-966 17 p.

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  • Targeting cancer patients' quality of life through social comparison A randomised trial

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Objective: Former cancer patients' quality of life can be improved by offering social comparison information. Whether patients, however, benefit from the information may depend on how negative they perceive their present and their future.

Design: We conducted a randomised experimental field study with a pre- and post-measurement. Dutch former cancer patients - recruited through different media - were assigned to a social comparison intervention condition or a no-intervention control condition (experimental condition n = 62; control condition n = 88; M-age = 52 years). In the intervention condition, patients received a 20 min computer-tailored interview in audio format. Patients' present perceived life threat and future health expectations were measured at pretest.

Main outcome measures: Quality of life and life satisfaction after 2 months were the outcome variables.

Results: The intervention increased life satisfaction only in patients who experienced a high present life threat ( = .08) and in patients who had negative future health expectations, the intervention increased quality of life ( = .05).

Conclusions: Not all patients did benefit from the intervention; for some patients, the social comparison intervention was even detrimental. Moderator analyses seem necessary to evaluate psycho-social interventions for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-966
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 3-Aug-2014


  • quality of life, cancer survivors, social comparison information, psychosocial intervention, life satisfaction, COMPARISON INFORMATION, BREAST-CANCER, HEALTH, ADJUSTMENT, RADIOTHERAPY, RESPONSES, OPTIMISM, IMPACT, THREAT, BIAS

ID: 14332477