Using a Heuristic App to Improve Symptom Self-Management in Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer.

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DOI: 10.1089/jayao.2018.0103


PURPOSE: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer need self-management strategies to cope with multiple symptoms. Self-efficacy, self-regulation, and negotiated collaboration are key theoretical components of the self-management process and have not been fully explored with AYAs with cancer. This study examined the effects of a heuristic symptom assessment tool on AYAs' self-efficacy for symptom management, AYAs' self-regulation abilities related to their symptoms, and communication with their providers about symptoms.

METHODS: AYAs (15-29 years of age) receiving chemotherapy used the Computerized Symptom Capture Assessment Tool (C-SCAT) to illustrate their symptom experience and discuss their symptoms with providers during two clinic visits. Participants completed the PROMIS Self-efficacy for Managing Symptoms Scale, a measure of satisfaction with provider communication, and a short interview about self-regulation and communication behaviors at baseline and after each provider visit.

RESULTS: Eighty-five AYAs who used the C-SCAT showed improved self-efficacy for managing symptoms. Qualitative data suggest that the C-SCAT was useful for enhancing a number of AYAs' self-regulation abilities related to symptom management, such as awareness and recall of symptoms, how symptoms were related, and how they planned to talk about their symptoms to providers. AYAs reported C-SCAT facilitated communication with providers about symptoms and symptom management because it was a visual prompt showing priority and related symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Because AYAs continue to experience multiple distressing symptoms, symptom self-management remains an important area for practice and research. Use of heuristic tools, such as the C-SCAT, may help AYAs more effectively self-manage their symptoms for better health outcomes.

Journal Title

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Adult; Communication; Computers, Handheld; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Health Personnel; Heuristics; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Neoplasms; Palliative Care; Physician-Patient Relations; Prognosis; Self Efficacy; Self-Management; Symptom Assessment; Young Adult


communication; self-efficacy; self-management; self-regulation; symptoms

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