Patients and caregivers undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) are at particular risk for
reduced psychological and social well-being due to the rigorous and unique nature of the transplant
experience, such as prolonged immunosuppression and multiple post HCT complications resulting in frequent
hospitalizations. However, few studies have evaluated interventions to alleviate psychosocial distress for both
patients and caregivers, and those have yielded inconclusive results. A narrative-based (storytelling) approach
may be an effective intervention tool for HCT patients and caregivers coping with psychosocial distress. Our
preliminary data show that stories shared by individuals in which a range of emotional expression or
resolutions are described, may have beneficial effects on emotional well-being. In a recent pilot study of a 3-
day digital storytelling workshop, we produced a series of digital videos with narratives from a panel of post-
HCT patients. We propose to use these digital stories (DS), to be viewed and discussed by HCT
patient/caregiver dyads, as a therapeutic intervention and to examine influences on their psychosocial status.
This cost-effective, non-invasive, and easy-to-deliver psychosocial support vehicle has never been formally
tested as an intervention for HCT patients or patient-caregiver dyads.
To build upon our preliminary studies and to pilot test the efficacy of this series of DS, 110 adult patients
undergoing HCT at the Mayo Clinic Arizona and their respective adult caregivers (N=220 total participants) will
be randomized to either (a) an intervention using DS (dyadic exposure to four 5-minute modules) or (b) an
information control (IC) video group (dyadic exposure to four videos containing only information about post-
HCT care) followed by encouragement to discuss as a dyad. Exposure will occur once per week over 4 weeks
via a secure web-based data collection platform (REDcap) with a weekly email notification and reminder phone
call. Using our model of Narrative Effects on Socio-Emotional Well-Being, we will also examine expected
mediating factors to determine how stories may "work" to reduce psychosocial distress by fostering emotional
processing, acceptance, and dyadic disclosure of emotions.
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