Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) poses significant challenges for recipients and their caregiving partners. Couples may refrain from talking about treatment-related fears and concerns to minimize distress. This single-group, pre–post study examined feasibility and acceptability of an intervention designed to optimize communication between HCT patients and partners; it also assessed change in process measures. Couples met with a therapist 5 times to learn skills for disclosing illness-related thoughts and feelings and responding supportively to one another. The extent to which participants disclosed thoughts, feelings, and information during the session and felt supported was assessed at the close of each session. Forty of 89 eligible couples consented (45%). Thirty couples commenced intervention 1-month post-transplant; 26 of these completed all sessions (87%) and 27 completed follow-up (90%). Ratings of self-disclosure and feeling supported by one's partner increased linearly across intervention sessions among both patients and caregivers (all P ≥.01). Ratings of satisfaction with the intervention were high. HCT couples can be recruited and retained for this intervention. They found it acceptable and were amenable to skills training. A randomized trial is needed to test efficacy and to identify moderators of treatment response.
- Hematopoietic cell transplant
- Protective buffering
ASJC Scopus subject areas