Do men and their wives see it the same way? Congruence within couples during the first year of prostate cancer



Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the psychosocial adjustment congruence within couples through the first year of prostate cancer experience, and to explore the personal variables that could predict congruence within couples.

Method: Eighty-one couples were interviewed at the time of diagnosis; 69 participated at 3 months and 61 at 12 months. Paired t-tests were used to examine dyadic congruence on seven domains of psychosocial adjustment. Repeated Measures ANOVAs were used to examine the congruence over time. Multiple regressions were used to determine whether mood disturbance, urinary and sexual bother, sense of coherence, and social support were predictors of congruence within couples on each of the adjustment domains.

Results: At time 1, couples had incongruent perceptions in 3 of 7 domains: health care, psychological, and social adjustment. Three months later, health care, psychological, and sexual domains showed incongruence within couples. One year after the diagnosis, there were incongruent perceptions only in sexual and psychological domains. There was little variation of the congruence within couples over time. Husbands and wives' mood disturbance, urinary and sexual bother, sense of coherence, and social support accounted for 25–63% of variance in couple congruence in the adjustment domains in the study periods.

Conclusion: The findings suggested that there is couple congruence. Domains in which incongruence was observed are important targets for clinical interventions. Greater attention needs to be directed to assisting couples to recognize the differences between their perceptions, especially the ones related to the sexual symptoms and psychological distress. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.