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Reminiscence therapy significantly affects cancer-related symptoms, including depression and anxiety, and is also useful in improving self-esteem, quality of life, and self-hope.

Cancer survivors exhibit significant psychological and physical changes owing to a long course of treatment. Reminiscence therapy has been used to treat psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression. A systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that reminiscence therapy profoundly affects cancer-related symptoms in cancer survivors, including depression and anxiety. It also enhances cancer survivors’ self-esteem, quality of life, and self-hope. These findings are published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies.  

More Effective Than Routine Care

Reminiscence therapy has greater efficacy in promoting emotional distress recovery and improving cancer-related depression and anxiety in cancer patients. These outcomes are mediated by the role of reminiscence therapy in promoting positive feelings and experiences, which aids in developing a sense of self-identity to improve mental health. Reminiscence therapy also mitigates cancer-related symptoms by reducing loneliness, influencing patients’ moods directly, and improving cancer-related cognitive impairment.

Significantly Improved Quality of Life in Cancer Patients

Compared to the control group, participants in the reminiscence therapy group demonstrated improvement in quality of life. The potential mechanisms underlying this outcome include reducing boredom and maintaining intimacy and conversational ability, which may reduce perceived stress and enhance life satisfaction and motivation. Reminiscence therapy also elevates hope and self-esteem among cancer patients.

Positively Affected Hope and Self-Esteem

The study analyzed data from four studies that evaluated hope using the Herth Hope Index, and found a significant difference between the groups that received RT and those that did not. Additionally, the study analyzed data from five randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that measured self-esteem using the Patient Dignity Inventory and the Social Self-Esteem Scale. The results showed that RT was associated with significant improvements in two indicators of self-esteem in cancer patients.

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Reminiscence therapy was found to have profound effects on cancer-related symptoms comprising depression and anxiety and was also useful in improving self-esteem, quality of life, and self-hope.


Sun, J., Jiang, J., Wang, Y., Zhang, M., Dong, L., Li, K., & Wu, C. (2023). The Efficacy of Reminiscence Therapy in Cancer-Related Symptom Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Integr Cancer Ther, 22, 15347354221147499. https://doi.org/10.1177/15347354221147499