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Overview

Our two-year developmental study will implement and evaluate the following My Living Story intervention components:

  • Telephone interview to elicit a "dignity enhancing" life story
  • Edited life manuscript with feedback delivered in electronic format
  • Personalized website built on a web 2.0 social networking (ning.com) platform. miLivingStory links to the instructional life review content of CHESS: miStory and allows participants to design their interface, upload multimedia content, employ a number of widgets, and invite and manage their social network

We will recruit and randomize 100 people, age 30-60, with Stage III or IV cancer to test whether My Living Story reduces psychological distress and increases existential/spiritual well-being, social support, and sense of generativity/legacy. We will also conduct qualitative analysis of the social network communication on participants' individual miLivingStory websites.

The Need

This study builds upon research on cancer patients' well-being and their use of the internet. Middle aged people with advanced cancer have greater distress than their older early-stage cancer counterparts; existential pain is a greater source of distress than physical pain; and meaning-focused life review reduces distress and increases a sense of life meaning and legacy in hospice patients. Interactive Cancer Communication programs like CHESS that deliver information, peer discussion boards, and active problem-solving tools improve patient experience. However, many midlife patients use web 2.0 platforms create their personal websites where they post their stories (in multi-media formats) and share them with their invited social network. Web 2.0 can thus transform the patient's life story into a living story

Principal Investigators:
Meg Wise, Ph.D