Patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) are at risk for psychological and social impairment given the rigors and multiple sequelae of treatment. The purpose of this pilot study was to test the feasibility of a digital storytelling (DS) intervention for HCT patients, and to examine limited efficacy of the intervention relative to control arm on psychological distress and perceived social support. Adult HCT patients (n = 40, M age = 59.2 years) were enrolled immediately post-HCT and randomly assigned to either DS intervention or information control (IC). DS participants viewed four 3-min personal, emotionally rich digital stories, and IC condition participants viewed four videos containing information about post-HCT care. Feasibility regarding recruitment, enrollment efforts, and change scores from pre- to post-intervention (Δs) on depression, anxiety, and perceived social support were tracked. Fifty-four (51.4%) of 105 eligible patients consented. Forty (74%) patients completed the intervention. All but one completed the post-intervention assessments demonstrating that HCT patients can be recruited and retained for this intervention. On average, perceived social support increased for the DS group (Δ = 0.06) but decreased for the IC group (Δ = − 0.05). Anxiety and depression improved over time in both conditions. Viewing digital stories with content evoking emotional contexts similar to one’s own health challenges may improve perceptions of social support among HCT patients. How DS can improve perceived social support for both short-term and longer-term sustained effects in a longitudinal study is an area ripe for additional investigation.
- Bone marrow transplant
- Digital storytelling
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplant
- Psychosocial health
- Social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health