Friday, January 26, 2018

Psychosocial interventions improve quality of life in patients with cancer

In a study just published in the journal Psycho-oncology -by the POLARIS consortium and with Dr. Laurien Buffart as senior author-, we present the results of an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effects of psychosocial interventions on quality of life, emotional function and social function in patients with cancer, and to study for which patients such interventions work better. Therefore we looked at moderator effects of demographic, clinical, personal, and intervention-related characteristics.
We pooled IPD from 22 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), with in total more than 4000 patients for our analyses.
Overall, we found clear evidence that psychosocial interventions significantly improve quality of life  as well as emotional and social function in patients with cancer, with largest effects for psychotherapy. We found evidence that effects of coping skills training were moderated by age, treatment type, and targeted interventions. We found some evidence that effects of psychotherapy on emotional function may be moderated by cancer type, but these analyses were based on few studies.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Happiness in European Neighbourhoods

In a paper just published in the journal PLOS One, we aimed to examine the associations of both objectively assessed and perceived physical and social neighborhood characteristics with happiness in European adults. Eva Anna Christina Hart was first author and Dr. Joreintje Mackenbach was senior author on this paper and for this study we used data from the SPOTLIGHT study. Respondents reported their level of happiness on a 5-point Likert scale, and rated their perceptions of physical and social environmental neighbourhood characteristics. Objective physical environmental characteristics were also assessed, using a Google Street View-based neighbourhood audit. Associations of 14 physical and social environmental characteristics with happiness were analysed.
Living in neighbourhoods that look better ('better aesthetics') and more water and green space was associated with being very happy. Individuals who perceived their neighbourhood to be safer, more functional and more aesthetic were more likely to be very happy. The associations of functionality and aesthetics with happiness were strongest in the Ghent region (Belgium), the Randstad (the Netherlands) and Greater London (United Kingdom). Perceived absence of air pollution was only associated with higher levels of happiness among more highly educated participants. Individuals with a larger social network, more social cohesion and who trusted their neighbours were more likely to be very happy. The association between social networks and happiness was somewhat stronger in men than in women. In general, the associations between environmental characteristics and happiness had similar directions and sizes across socio-economic and socio-demographic subgroups.