Rapid Fire Session 2014 World Cancer Congress

Adapting evidence-based psychological therapy to the computer screen for adolescent and young adult cancer survivors: Preliminary results from the ‘Recapture Life’ randomised controlled trial. (#430)

Ursula M Sansom-Daly 1 2 3 , Claire E Wakefield 1 3 , Richard A Bryant 2 , Sarah Ellis 3 , Emma Doolan 3 , Richard J Cohn 1 3
  1. School of Women's and Children's Health, The University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia
  2. School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia
  3. Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia


For adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer, the time following cancer treatment completion can be a time of psychological vulnerability as they attempt to return to ‘normal’.1 Assisting AYAs to develop adaptive coping skills at this time of transition may prevent later distress.2 To address this need, our team developed an online intervention named ‘ReCaPTure LiFe’ (Resilience and Coping skills for young People To Live well Following Cancer) for AYAs aged 15-25 years in the first year post-treatment.3


This national, multisite phase II randomised controlled trial (RCT) aimed to establish the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of Recapture Life, relative to an online peer-support group control, and a 12-week waitlist.


Recapture Life is a manualised program that promotes resilience using evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, tailored to the AYA experience. Recapture Life involves six, weekly, small-group sessions, delivered online by a psychologist using video-conferencing technology.


To date, 21 AYAs have completed the program (response rate: 51%) from across five states in Australia. Participants have resided an average of 103km from their nearest capital city (SD=118.5, range=6-345), and groups have been conducted across different timezones, with participants >4000km apart. Further groups are underway. Early data indicate significantly improved quality of life following the Recapture Life program, particularly regarding cancer-related concerns (p=0.033) and identity changes (p=0.033), improved scores on distress (p=0.021) and anxiety (p=0.015), and a reduced need for help (p=0.024). Qualitative feedback from participants also confirmed the acceptability of Recapture Life’s online, group-based format and skills-focused content.


Preliminary data indicate that Recapture Life is acceptable and feasible to deliver to AYAs across Australia. Through its innovative online methods, this program has the potential to extend the reach of evidence-based psychosocial support to bridge the physical and emotional isolation experienced by vulnerable AYAs post-treatment.

  1. Sansom-Daly, U.M., Wakefield, C.E. (2013). Distress and adjustment among adolescents and young adults with cancer: An empirical and conceptual review. Translational Pediatrics, 2(4):167-197.
  2. Sansom-Daly, U.M., Peate, M., Wakefield, C.E., Bryant, R.A., Cohn, R.J. (2012). A Systematic Review of Psychological Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults Living with Chronic Illness. Health Psychology, 31(3), 380–393.
  3. Sansom-Daly, U.M., Wakefield, C.E., Bryant, R.A., Butow, P., Sawyer, S., Patterson, P., Anazodo, A., Thompson, K., Cohn, R.J. (2012). Online group-based cognitive-behavioural therapy for adolescents and young adults after cancer treatment: A multicenter randomised controlled trial of Recapture Life-AYA. BMC Cancer, 12: 339.