Enhancing Positive Psychological Wellbeing in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Hermioni L. Amonoo, MD, MPP

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Enhancing Positive Psychological Wellbeing in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Scientific Abstract


Background: Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients often experience deficits in positive psychological well-being (PPWB) due to their intensive treatment, prolonged 3-4-week hospitalizations, and demanding follow-up care. While positive psychology interventions (PPIs) that promote PPWB via deliberate and systematic exercises (e.g., writing a letter of gratitude) have consistently improved psychological well-being in various medical populations, they have never been studied stem cell transplantation recipients. Accordingly, we tested a novel PPI in allogeneic recipients in this study.

Methods: We performed a single-arm proof-of-concept study to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a novel eight session telephone-delivered PPI in allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients recruited from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. All participants engaged in eight weekly phone sessions and completed positive psychology (PP) exercises each week. We assessed the intervention’s feasibility by the number of sessions completed, acceptability by participant ratings (0-10) of the ease and utility of the PP exercises, and immediate impact by participant pre-post exercise ratings (0-10) of happiness and optimism.

Results: Twelve participants who were White (100%) and primarily female (67%), with a mean age of 53.1 years (SD 13.7 years), completed the intervention. The intervention was feasible (100% of exercises completed across all participants) and acceptable (ease score [M 8.0, SD 2.7], utility score [M 8.4, SD 1.9]). The intervention led to significant increases in happiness (M 7.9 [SD 1.6; pre-exercise] vs. M 8.5 [SD 1.5; post-exercise], t=4.4, p<0.001) and optimism (M 8.0 [SD 1.8; pre-exercise] vs. M 8.6 [SD 1.4; post-exercise], t=6.2, p<0.001).

Conclusions: A novel, eight-session, telephone-delivered PPI was feasible and acceptable in allogeneic transplant recipients. Larger randomized studies are needed to further examine the impact and utility of a PPI in allogeneic transplant recipients. Such PPIs have the potential to improve psychological well-being and clinical outcomes in allogeneic transplant recipients.

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research Areas


Hermioni L. Amonoo, MD, MPP, Lauren E. Harnedy, BA, Carlyn F. Scheu, BA, Regina M. Longley, BA, Brian C. Healy, PhD, Christopher M. Celano, MD, Jeff C. Huffman, MD