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Keywords:

  • prostate cancer;
  • peer support;
  • couples intervention;
  • sexuality;
  • psychosocial adjustment

Abstract

Background

The present study assessed the feasibility of delivering peer support for couples coping with prostate cancer within a trial design.

Methods/Design

Ten peer volunteers completed training in research protocols and delivering tele-based couples support to men with prostate cancer and their partners. Twenty couples received an eight session intervention and were assessed before surgery and 3 and 6 months subsequently for adjustment outcomes. A focus group investigated the peers' experiences.

Results

Peers were motivated by altruism, a belief in research, and reported personal growth. The research protocol at times conflicted with lay models of helping, and the focus on sexuality and couples was challenging. Distress decreased over time but more so for partners; unmet sexuality needs did not improve.

Conclusion

Peer support appears promising as a model to support couples facing prostate cancer. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.