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Psychological symptoms are commonly experienced in women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. This study examined the effect of a Buddhist-based Nursing Program on psychological symptom experiences of these women. Ninety-three breast cancer women were randomized to either the experimental group (n = 45) receiving both the BNP and routine care, or the control group (n = 48) receiving only routine care at the outpatient department of a chemotherapy infusion center of a university hospital. The intervention consisted of 1) raising self-awareness; 2) integrating the Buddhist principles of the Four Noble Truths in the care of self; and 3) self-reflection regarding psychological symptom experiences and the progress of the Buddhist practices. The psychological symptom subscale of the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale was used to measure psychological symptom experiences. Data were collected three times: at the start of chemotherapy as a baseline (T1), chemotherapy cycle-3 (T2), and chemotherapy cycle-6 (T3). Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics, chi-square test, independent t-test, and one-way repeated measures ANOVA.
There was a non-significant difference in the mean scores of psychological symptom experiences between the two groups, but there was a significant time difference and a significant interaction effect. These findings indicate that although the Buddhist-based Nursing Program might not have strong contribution to reducing psychological symptom experiences, its potential benefit might be stronger than that of routine care. Thus, this Program might be used as a complementary intervention in relieving psychological symptom experiences of women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. However, it requires further testing with different groups in different locations.
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