Abstract

The authors evaluated the use of a coping skills group (CSG) therapy intervention to decrease depression and anxiety and increase healthy coping skills in a population of kidney and liver transplant candidates. The study, using a pre–posttest design, piloted a CSG with a convenience sample of 41 consenting participants on a waiting list or in workup for kidney or liver transplant. Two transplant social workers led five eight-week closed psychoeducational groups. Coping skills, depression symptoms, and anxiety symptoms were assessed preintervention, postintervention, and at follow-up one month later. Results suggest that the CSG group created significant changes in some coping areas, such as decreasing the use of denial and self-blame and increasing the use of acceptance, religion, and instrumental supports. In this study, instrumental supports are strategies such as seeking assistance, finding information, or asking for advice about what to do. The effects on instrumental supports did not sustain at the one-month follow-up. Anxiety and depression scores were significantly reduced, and these changes were sustained at one-month follow-up. This study supports the use of a group-based psychosocial intervention for the pretransplant population and will be most relevant to social workers practicing in the transplant field.

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