Susan G Komen  
I've Been Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Someone I Know Was Diagnosed Share Your Story Join Us And Stay Informed Donate To End Breast Cancer
    Home > Research & Grants > Grants Program > Research Grants > Research Grants Awarded > Abstract

    Research Grants Awarded

    To Test a Culturally Sensitive Intervention among Chinese Breast Cancer Survivors Using Expressive Writing

    Study Section:
    Psychosocial and Complementary Treatment Approache

    Scientific Abstract:
    Background: Despite the significant size of Asian American population and the fast growing rate of breast cancer in this population, there is a lack of attention to Asian American breast cancer survivor?s unmet needs. Asian American breast cancer survivors face culturally specific obstacles that affect their well-being. Stigma as well as cultural and linguistic barriers prevents them from seeking emotional support and from using mental health services. Without attention to mental health, Asian American breast cancer survivors might carry a psychological burden long after the cancer diagnosis and treatment. Expressive writing is designed to improve health by prompting emotional and cognitive processes through writing. It has the potential to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers which prevent Asian American cancer survivors from seeking and receiving emotional support. Expressive writing has been demonstrated to confer physical and psychological benefits for a variety of population, including Caucasian breast cancer survivors. The study aims to develop and evaluate the cultural fit and health benefits of an expressive writing intervention for the first time among an Asian American cancer population, specifically, Chinese breast cancer survivors. Objectives/hypothesis: We hypothesize that expressive writing will produce health benefits among Chinese breast cancer survivors, and those who are reticent to talk to others about their breast cancer experiences and those with inadequate social support will experience enhanced benefits of expressive writing. Study aims: 1) to determine the cultural sensitivity, feasibility, and effectiveness of an expressive writing intervention for Chinese American breast cancer survivors, and 2) to examine moderators enhancing the health benefits of an expressive writing intervention. Methods: Chinese breast cancer survivors will be randomly assigned to one of the three groups: a control group to write about the fact relevant to cancer experience, a benefit-finding intervention condition to write about positive thoughts regarding their cancer experience, and a self-regulation intervention condition to write about deepest feelings and coping efforts in addition to finding benefits from their cancer experience. Health outcomes will be assessed at baseline and three monthly follow-ups. Participants will be interviewed individually as well as gathered in focus groups to discuss their experience with the intervention study. Feasibility and cultural sensitivity will be evaluated. Hypotheses will be assessed through hierarchical liner modeling. Potential outcomes and benefits of the research: By evaluating the efficacy and the cultural fit of the intervention to promote the overall well-being of survivors, the study may directly benefit Chinese breast cancer survivors if the intervention proves to be effective, and could inform the development of this culturally sensitive support strategy for other Asian Americans.

    Lay Abstract:
    Despite the significant size of Asian American population and the fast growing rate of breast cancer in this population, there is a disturbing lack of attention to Asian American breast cancer survivor?s unmet needs. Asian American breast cancer patients and survivors face culturally specific obstacles that affect their well-being. Stigma as well as cultural and linguistic barriers prevents them from seeking emotional support and from using mental health services. Without attention to mental health, Asian American breast cancer survivors might carry a psychological burden long after the cancer diagnosis and treatment to a greater extent than non-Hispanic white women. Expressive writing is designed to improve health by prompting emotional and cognitive processes through writing. It has the potential to be a culturally sensitive intervention for Asian Americans by assuring privacy and preserving harmony, and to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers which prevent Asian American cancer survivors from seeking and receiving emotional support. Research has demonstrated that expressive writing confers physical and psychological benefits for a variety of population, including Caucasian breast cancer survivors. If expressive writing is demonstrated effective among Chinese-speaking breast cancer survivors, it may be an easily disseminated intervention for other groups of Asian American breast cancer survivors across the country. The proposed project aims to develop and evaluate a culturally sensitive intervention using expressive writing among Chinese breast cancer survivors. We expect that expressive writing will produce health benefits among Chinese breast cancer survivors, and this intervention will work best among those who are reticent to talk to others about their breast cancer experiences and those with inadequate social support. These hypotheses will be tested by comparing the effects of two intervention conditions and a control condition on health outcomes: a control condition to write about the fact relevant to cancer experience, a benefit-finding intervention condition to write about positive thoughts and experience regarding their cancer experience, and a self-regulation intervention condition to write about deepest feelings and coping efforts in addition to finding benefits from their cancer experience. Health outcomes will be assessed at baseline and three monthly follow-ups. Participants will be interviewed individually as well as gathered in focus groups to discuss their experience with the intervention study. All aspects of the study will be conducted in Chinese. By evaluating the efficacy and the cultural fit of the intervention to promote the overall well-being of survivors, the study may directly benefit Chinese breast cancer survivors if the intervention proves to be effective, and could inform the development of this culturally sensitive support strategy for other Asian Americans.