A Critique of Uncertainty Management Interventions for Breast Cancer Survivors

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Women who have survived breast cancer surgeries continue to have many challenges to face as they continue through life. Particularly, younger women who have survived cancer are known to have a variety of additional concerns as they have family and career challenges to think about. A study by Germino et al. (2012) looked at these stressors and implemented an experimental design to help women cope with these life concerns. This paper serves as a critique of this study and its future implications.
The theoretical framework of this study was clearly established with information regarding African American and Caucasian Breast Cancer Survivors (BCS) not having the resources needed to efficiently manage life after survivorship. The study presented many characteristics of treatment that could cause uncertainty in the survivors that are part of the enduring physical, emotional and social issues cancer survivors face that impact their quality of life. In particular, younger women (under the age of 50) were in consideration for this study as having more uncertainties in life than those who were older. Learning to cope in ways that can help these women get rid of intrusive thoughts, stressors and fears was the aim of the study.
The researchers were straight forward in their hypothesis as they not only wanted to prove that the Younger Breast Cancer Survivor Uncertainty Management Intervention (YS-UMI) taught strategies to younger BCSs for managing uncertainties in their lives, but they also wanted to show that this program taught BCS women to have more education and information about breast cancer specific concerns in order to yield more positive psychological outcomes. This intervention group is compared to an attention control condition, and overall, includes an adequate sample size of both Caucasian (196) and African American (117) women under the age of 50 and considered an adequate representation of the female population of BCSs.
This was a true experimental study with two groups (intervention and control) randomly assigned. The data was collected in the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), a renowned tool for collecting data, though the researchers could have better outlined the details of how effective this scale is in relaying information. Research methodology design was both simple and easy to understand while it supported the stated purpose of the study making specific discrepancies between the intervention and control groups. Ethical considerations were kept as moral principals including autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice were maintained. The interventions included specific cognitive and behavioral strategies to promote positive life changes.

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