A systematic review of psychosocial interventions for colorectal cancer patients

Catherine E. Mosher, Joseph G. Winger, Barbara A. Given, Safi Shahda, Paul R. Helft

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: A significant minority of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients experience clinically meaningful distress that may warrant intervention. The goal of this systematic review was to assess the impact of psychosocial interventions on quality-of-life and psychosocial outcomes for CRC patients. Methods: A systematic search of CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and PsycARTICLES was undertaken to obtain relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published through October 2016. Results: Fourteen RCTs of psychosocial interventions for CRC patients were identified. Only three of these RCTs showed significant intervention effects on multiple mental health outcomes. These interventions included written and verbal emotional expression, progressive muscle relaxation training, and a self-efficacy enhancing intervention. Eight of the 14 trials, testing a range of psychoeducational and supportive care interventions, produced little to no effects on study outcomes. An evaluation of RCT quality highlighted the need for greater rigor in study methods and reporting. Conclusion: A limited evidence base supports the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for CRC patients. Large-scale trials are needed before drawing definitive conclusions regarding intervention impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2349-2362
Number of pages14
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Interventions
  • Psychological
  • Psychosocial
  • Quality of life
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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