Yonsei Med J.  2018 Nov;59(9):1107-1114. 10.3349/ymj.2018.59.9.1107.

Preliminary Findings on the Effectiveness of Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy in Patients with Pancreatobiliary Cancer

  • 1Department of Psychiatry , Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. johnstein@yuhs.ac
  • 2Department of Surgery, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
  • 4Department of Surgery, Konyang University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Konyang University College of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 6Department of Surgery, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. yds6110@yuhs.ac


This study investigated the effectiveness of meaning-centered psychotherapy (MCP), which is known to be a helpful psychotherapeutic intervention in distressing conditions, for patients with pancreatobiliary cancer.
We recruited 37 patients with pancreatobiliary cancer from three university general hospitals and assessed their psychological characteristics. Patients who reported clinically significant emotional distress were recommended to undergo MCP. Patients who consented to MCP were provided four sessions of the therapy. Patient psychological characteristics were assessed again 2 months after MCP. For statistical comparison, outcome variables included anxiety, depression, mental adjustment to cancer, and quality of life (QoL), as well as the degree of stress and physical symptoms.
Sixteen patients completed the MCP and the final assessment 2 months later. In the initial assessment, the patients receiving MCP showed higher levels of anxiety and depression than those not receiving MCP, and QoL was also lower in terms of role function, emotional function, social function, and global QoL. At the 2-month follow-up, the MCP group showed a significant improvement in anxiety (p=0.007), depression (p=0.010), and anxious preoccupation (p < 0.001). In addition, QoL significantly improved in the MCP group, while there was no significant change in the non-MCP group.
In this study, MCP showed potential therapeutic benefits against emotional distress in patients with pancreatobiliary cancer, improving their QoL.


Psychotherapy; pancreatobiliary cancer; distress; quality of life
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