Efficacy of guided imagery relaxation in chemotherapy-treated cancer patients
Aims: To evaluate the efficacy of guided imagery relaxation in decreasing depression and anxiety levels in cancer patients submitted to chemotherapy.
Methods: A nonrandomized clinical trial was performed in male and female patients aged 30 years or older submitted to chemotherapy at a university hospital in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil. The patients were divided into an Experimental Group, which received the intervention (relaxation technique), and into a Control Group, which did not receive it. Twelve-minute guided imagery relaxation sessions were performed for 14 weeks, always during the chemotherapy procedure. In order to evaluate depression and anxiety levels, the Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory were applied at baseline and at the end of the study period. The data were analyzed by the EpiInfo7.0 statistical software using Student’s t, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney, and Pearson’s chi-square tests. Statistical significance was obtained when p <0.05.
Results: A total of 113 participants with a mean age of 51.3 years, among whom 62.8% were female and 72.6% were married, were included in the study. Breast, lung, and intestinal cancers were the most prevalent types of neoplasms. Fifty-seven patients were assigned to the Experimental Group and 56 to the Control Group. There was a decrease in depression and anxiety levels in the Experimental Group, in which depression scores ranged from 17.3±9.04 to 14.5±7.47 (p <0.0001) and anxiety scores ranged from 15.1±8.84 to 12.9±7.58 (p <0.0001). No significant difference was observed in the Control Group between the baseline and final evaluations.Conclusions: The guided imagery relaxation technique was efficacious in reducing depression and anxiety levels in this sample of chemotherapy-treated cancer patients.
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