Development of CBT for chemotherapy-related cognitive change: Results of a waitlist control trial

Robert J. Ferguson, Brenna C. McDonald, Michael A. Rocque, Charlotte T. Furstenberg, Susan Horrigan, Tim A. Ahles, Andrew J. Saykin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

135 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a brief cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that is being developed for management of cognitive dysfunction following chemotherapy among breast cancer survivors. Memory and Attention Adaptation Training (MAAT) is a brief CBT designed to improve the quality of life and function among cancer survivors with post-chemotherapy cognitive complaints. Methods: An initial, two-group (MAAT versus waitlist, no treatment control), randomized clinical trial (RCT) was conducted. Forty stage I and II female breast cancer survivors (mean age = 50; SD = 6.4) were randomized to conditions and assessed at baseline, post-treatment (8 weeks) and 2-month follow-up assessment points on measures of: (1) self-reported daily cognitive failures; (2) quality of life; and (3) neuropsychological performance. Participants were also assessed for satisfaction with MAAT. Results: With education and IQ as covariates, MAAT participants made significant improvements relative to controls on the spiritual well-being subscale of the quality of life measure and on verbal memory, but statistical significance was not achieved on self-report of daily cognitive complaints. However, moderate-to-large effect sizes were observed on these outcomes. Participants gave MAAT high satisfaction ratings. Conclusions: Although this initial RCT is a small study, MAAT participants appear to improve on one measure of quality of life and verbal memory performance relative to no treatment controls and rate MAAT with high satisfaction. These data are encouraging and support the continued development and evaluation of MAAT efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-186
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • breast cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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