Rationale: Video-based interventions hold promise for improving quality of life (QoL) among African American breast cancer patients. Objective: An interactive, cancer-communication intervention using African American breast cancer survivors' narratives was tested in a randomized controlled trial to determine whether viewing survivor stories improved newly diagnosed African American breast cancer patients' QoL. Method: Participants were 228 African American women with non-metastatic breast cancer interviewed five times over two years; 120 controls received standard medical care, and 108 intervention-arm participants also received a tablet-computer with survivor stories three times in 12 months. Growth curve models were used to analyze differences between arms in change in eight RAND 36-Item Health Survey subscales, depressive symptoms, and concerns about recurrence. Additional models explored the effects of intervention usage and other intervention-related variables on QoL among patients in the intervention arm. Results: Models showed no effect of study arm on QoL, depressive symptoms, or concerns about recurrence. Longer use of the intervention was associated with an increase in concerns about recurrence and decline in three QoL subscales: emotional wellbeing, energy/fatigue, and role limitations due to physical health. Conclusion: Although no significant impact of the intervention on QoL was observed when comparing the two study arms, in the intervention arm longer intervention use was associated with declines in three QoL subscales and increased concerns about recurrence. Women with improving QoL may have interacted with the tablet less because they felt less in need of information; it is also possible that encouraging patients to compare themselves to survivors who had already recovered from breast cancer led some patients to report lower QoL. Future work is warranted to examine whether adding different stories to this cancer-communication intervention or using stories in conjunction with additional health promotion strategies (e.g., patient navigation) might improve QoL for African American breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113663
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • African Americans
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Health communications
  • Quality of life
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • United States


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