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Keywords:

  • Prostate Cancer;
  • Cancer and Sexual Quality of Life;
  • Psychological Intervention;
  • Intimacy-Enhancing Treatment

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Few couple-focused interventions have been developed to improve distress and relationship outcomes among men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and their partners.

Aims.  We examined the effects of a five-session Intimacy-Enhancing Therapy (IET) vs. Usual Care (UC) on the psychological and relationship functioning of men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer and their partners. Pre-intervention levels of psychological and relationship functioning were evaluated as moderators of intervention effects.

Methods.  Seventy-one survivors and their partners completed a baseline survey and were subsequently randomly assigned to receive five sessions of IET or UC (no treatment). Eight weeks after the baseline assessment, a follow-up survey was administered to survivor and partner.

Main Outcome Measures.  Distress, well-being, relationship satisfaction, relationship intimacy, and communication were investigated as the main outcomes.

Results.  IET effects were largely moderated by pre-intervention psychosocial and relationship factors. Those survivors who had higher levels of cancer concerns at pretreatment had significantly reduced concerns following IET. Similar moderating effects for pre-intervention levels were reported for the effects of IET on self-disclosure, perceived partner disclosure, and perceived partner responsiveness. Among partners beginning the intervention with higher cancer-specific distress, lower marital satisfaction, lower intimacy, and poorer communication, IET improved these outcomes.

Conclusions.  IET had a marginally significant main effect upon survivor well-being but was effective among couples with fewer personal and relationship resources. Subsequent research is needed to replicate these findings with a larger sample and a longer follow-up. Manne SL, Nelson CJ, Kissane DW, Mulhall JP, Winkel G, and Zaider T. Intimacy-enhancing psychological intervention for men diagnosed with prostate cancer and their partners: A pilot study. J Sex Med 2011;8:1197–1209.