The Impact of Expressive Emotion Brief Psychotherapy on Psychological Health of Kidney Transplant Recipients

Abstract


Background: The effect of kidney transplantation on improvement of survival rate and post-transplant-medical health is dramatic. Transplantation is associated with various emotions such as loss, grief and bereavement. Therefore, any psychiatric intervention that can improve the psychological aspects of these patients is valuable.

Objectives: Due to the specific medical and psychiatric conditions of Kidney transplant recipients, researchers have designed expressive emotion psychotherapy as a simple, feasible and time limited brief psychotherapy for these patients. The aim was the assessment of this psychotherapy on quality of life and general health of kidney transplant recipients.

Methods: This 12-week randomized double-blind clinical trial took place at the Kidney transplant department of Imam Khomeini hospital, an academic and governmental hospital affiliated with Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) from November 2015 to February 2016 (Iran). From a total of 82 patients screened for this study, 64 patients (34 in the intervention group and 30 in the control group) completed the trial. Participants were divided to two groups: the first received expressive emotion intervention and the second received fact recording education as the control group. Outcomes were assessed by the kidney transplant questionnaire (KTQ) and general health questionnaire (GHQ-28) at baseline and at weeks four and twelve.

Results: Baseline demographic characters of patients in both groups were similar. The mean age of patients that participated in the study were respectively 39.26 ± 12.98 and 40.83 ± 14.37 for intervention and control groups. The results of this study indicated that patients in the “intervention” group had a statistically significant enhancement in total KTQ score (P = 0.001) and total GHQ score (P = 0.001). Regarding every domain of GHQ, this group had a better condition than the “control” group (P = 0.000). The intervention had a significant effect on certain domains of KTQ such as “uncertainty/fear” and “emotion”.

Conclusions: Expressive emotion brief psychotherapy that focuses on the instructions of expression about one’s living and dealing with a diagnosis of chronic medical condition is recommended for kidney transplant recipients.