Impact of a Stress Management Intervention Program on Sexual Functioning and Stress Reduction in Women with Breast Cancer

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Instructor of Midwifery, Mother and child Care Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.

2 Instructor of Occupational Therapy, Department of occupational therapy, School of Rehabilitation, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.

3 M.A Graduate in Clinical Psychology, Hamadan, Iran.

4 Student of Midwifery, Students Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.

5 Instructor of Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Azad University of Tuyserkan, Hamadan, Iran.

6 Department of Periodontics, School of Dentistry, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran.

7 Mother and Child Care Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.


Breast cancer as the most common cancer among women endangers various aspects of their sexual lives and is a major culprit regarding health impairment and low life quality. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a stress management intervention program on sexual functioning and stress reduction in women with breast cancer. This study employed a quasi-experimental pre-test, post-test design which included follow-up checks and a control group. To this end, 104 women with breast cancer referring to Hamadan’s Mahdiyeh MRI Center at the time of data collection were conventionally selected in 2015. Using permuted blocks, they were randomly divided into experimental and control groups (n= 52), only the former receiving stress management counseling for 18 hours. Data were collected through a demographic questionnaire, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire, and Harry’s stress questionnaire, filled out by patients before and after the intervention. To analyze the data, descriptive statistics and two-way ANOVA were used. The results showed that cognitive - behavioral stress management group therapy improved total sexual functioning and its subscales. After the treatment, there was a significant difference in mean scores between the groups (p=0.01). Moreover, significant differences were observed in the mean scores for stress with improvement in the experimental group in post-test results. Cognitive - behavioral group therapy for stress management was thuis found to improve total sexual functioning and its subscales and reduce the level of stress in the experimental group after the intervention and follow-up period with an interval of two weeks. Therefore, this method can be used as a complementary therapy along with medical treatment in oncology centers.