Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt

Second Advisor

Jeannie Montagono

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

Problem

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Anxiety is a prevalent psychological concern in breast cancer patients and has negative impact on the course of their disease, treatment and recovery. This study was to investigate the effects of Chinese calligraphy on reducing the anxiety and comorbid depression levels among Hong Kong breast cancer patients with an intention to support the needs of breast cancer patients by providing alternative therapy that is culturally receptive. The primary objective of the study was to examine to what extent Chinese calligraphy intervention can reduce the anxiety and comorbid depression levels among the breast cancer patients in Hong Kong.

Method

A one group repeated measures design was applied to the study. Participants were required to join eight-90 minute sessions of Chinese calligraphy intervention. Physiological measurements including blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate and self-reported psychological measurements including the full version of State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the short version Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS 21) were used. Blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate were measured at the baselines, before and after each intervention. The STAI and DASS 21 were measured at the baselines, after 4 weeks and after 8 weeks of Chinese calligraphy intervention. A total of 45 female Hong Kong breast cancer patients participated in the research, and 30 of them finished all eight interventions.

Results

The results showed that calligraphy significantly reduced heart rate, respiratory rate, systolic blood pressure, as well as self-reported state-trait anxiety levels, depression levels and stress levels in breast cancer patients who received an eight-90 minute Chinese calligraphy intervention. Two hypotheses were supported by the results of the research: 1) There was a physiological slowing effect in blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate among breast cancer patients after the intervention; 2) Breast cancer patients had reduced scores on self-reported measures on anxiety and comorbid depression levels after the intervention.

Conclusions

These data suggest that Chinese calligraphy may be an effective alternative intervention to reduce the anxiety and comorbid depression levels among breast cancer patients in Hong Kong.

Subject Area

Calligraphy, Chinese; Anxiety; Breast--Cancer--Hong Kong (China); Cancer--Patients--Hong Kong (China)

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