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Prosocial Internet Support Group May Not Be Of Any Good For Breast Cancer

Update Date: Nov 23, 2014 10:27 PM EST

A prosocial Internet support group (ISG) that encourages breast cancer survivors with elevated anxiety or depression to help others may not be beneficial, suggests a new study.

Researchers conducted a two-armed randomized controlled trial with pre- and post-test assessments to compare the efficacy of a standard ISG (S-ISG) and an enhanced prosocial ISG. 

The study found that participants in the P-ISG exhibited more supportive behaviors posted more "other-focused" messages and fewer "self-focused" messages, and expressed less negative emotion compared with S-ISG participants. 

"Despite the successful manipulation of supportive behaviors, the P-ISG did not produce better mental health outcomes in distressed survivors of breast cancer relative to an S-ISG," the authors write. "Helping others may not be beneficial as a treatment for distressed survivors of breast cancer."

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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