Objective: This study examined symptom-based subgroups of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients and the extent to which they differed across key constructs of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Methods: Eighty women with MBC completed self-report surveys assessing 10 common symptoms and several ACT variables (ie, activity engagement, psychological inflexibility, value obstruction, and value progress) during a single time point. Results: A cluster analysis yielded 3 patient subgroups: low symptoms, low-moderate symptoms, and moderate-high symptoms. Relative to the subgroup with low symptoms, the other subgroups reported less activity engagement. In addition, compared with patients with low symptoms, the subgroup with moderate-high symptoms reported greater psychological inflexibility (ie, avoidance of unwanted internal experiences) and greater difficulty living consistently with their values. Conclusions: Women with MBC show heterogeneity in their symptom profiles, and those with higher symptom burden are more likely to disengage from valued activities and avoid unwanted experiences (eg, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations). Findings are largely consistent with the ACT model and provide strong justification for testing ACT to address symptom interference in MBC patients.
- acceptance and commitment therapy
- activity engagement
- metastatic breast cancer
- psychological flexibility
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health