Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

Implicit promotion of vitality among breast cancer patients through eHealth app

Type of assignment:                    BA

Internal or external?:              Internal     

Maximum number of students:     3

Individual collecting of data?        Yes

Type of research:                           Different options (qualitative, quantitative, mixed-methods)

Description of the assignment:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. On January 1st 2016, there were 131,600 women with breast cancer in the Netherlands. Women that are diagnosed with breast cancer are treated with for example chemotherapy and surgery. After such an intensive trajectory, many women suffer from severe fatigue symptoms. Existing interventions teach these women to look more consciously at their behaviour and the consequences. However, many of them can still not function as before. These women often experience limitations in their daily lives and even a reduction in quality of life.

Patients with fatigue complaints automatically and unconsciously focus their attention on the fatigue symptoms. They often develop a distorted self-image, which is too focused on fatigue.
This is often an automatic and implicit process. In ongoing research in collaboration with Ziekenhuis Groep Twente, we are working on the development of a preventive eHealth app that becomes a simple tool to tackle these implicit processes.


The app includes a simple, repeated training that is also called CBM (= Cognitive Bias Modification). This training has already shown beneficial effects in anxiety, depression, chronic pain and addiction. The CBM training consists of an eHealth computer ‘game’ in which participants connect concepts that directly relate to themselves (e.g., I) with words related to vitality (e.g., energetic), and concepts related to others (e.g. them) to words related to fatigue (e.g. exhausted), for a maximum of 10 minutes per day. The goal of this app is to modify the self-image of patients in the direction of vitality, and indirectly also promote vitality-related behaviour. There are various options for students within this project, such as testing the app in the general population.

Who are we looking for? Students who have already gained some experience in measuring implicit processes (such as in the BA module Health Psychology & Applied Technology) and who are interested in expanding their basic knowledge and skills and applying them to fatigue and vitality.

What are we offering? Contribution to an ongoing innovative project of the University of Twente and Ziekenhuis Groep Twente (ZGT)

More information?:

Supervisor: to be determined