Twenty studies (number of participants was unclear) were included in the review: 16 RCTs, one non-randomised controlled study and 3 uncontrolled studies. Only the findings of the RCTs are reported below.
CBT (5 studies).
Three RCTs of CBT reported a reduction in total mood disturbance. Two RCTs reported that CBT reduced depression and increased vigour. However, one RCT reported no difference in survival rates between women in the CBT and control groups.
SEGT (12 studies).
Three RCTs of SEGT reported a reduction in total mood disturbance, reduced depression and a reduction in tension. Two RCTs each reported less confusion and pain. A number of other positive outcomes associated with SEGT were supported in single RCTs: a reduction in phobias, improvement in vigour, improvement in coping, reduction in fatigue, improved survival, suppression of affect, restraint of aggressive actions and improvements in physiological immune functioning. In contrast, another RCT failed to find any improvement in survival associated with SEGT.
Combined CBT and SEGT (4 studies).
One RCT reported reduced anxiety, increased perceived family support, more satisfaction with psychiatric care and improved coping for those women receiving combined CBT-SEGT versus control. However, 2 RCTs found no change in survival between the combined intervention and control groups, and one found no changes in total mood disturbance, quality of life, social support and repression.