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Keywords:

  • prostate carcinoma;
  • partners;
  • distress;
  • quality of life;
  • social environment;
  • coping;
  • personality

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The authors examined levels and predictors of psychological distress in the wives of men treated for early-stage prostate carcinoma (PCa).

METHODS

Patients with PCa (N = 165) and spouses were interviewed to assess general and cancer-specific distress. Social and intrapersonal factors of spouses as well as clinical characteristics and quality of life of patients were assessed as potential predictors of spouses' distress.

RESULTS

Spouses reported more cancer-specific distress than did patients (P < 0.001), but did not differ from patients in general distress. Several spouse-reported factors predicted higher spouses' distress, including less education (P < 0.005), worse marriage quality and less social support (Ps < 0.005), more negative social interaction with the patient (Ps < 0.001), lower self-esteem (Ps < 0.001), less positive coping (Ps < 0.005), searching for meaning (P < 0.001), not finding meaning (P < 0.005), and greater illness uncertainty (Ps < 0.001). Patients' bowel function and mental health also predicted greater spouses' distress (Ps < 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

The findings indicated that overall distress in spouses of early-stage patients with PCa was modest, and it was more likely to be predicted by psychosocial than medical factors. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.