Partners' Long-term Appraisal of Their Caregiving Experience, Marital Satisfaction, Sexual Satisfaction, and Quality of Life 2 Years After Prostate Cancer Treatment

Janet K. Harden, PhD; Martin G. Sanda, MD; John T. Wei, MD; Hossein Yarandi, PhD; Larry Hembroff, PhD; Jill Hardy, BS; Laurel L. Northouse, PhD

Disclosures

Cancer Nurs. 2013;36(2):104-113. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Background: Partners of men treated for prostate cancer report more emotional distress associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer than the men report; the duration of distress for partners is seldom examined.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the long-term effects of prostate cancer treatment on partners' appraisal of their care giving experience, marital satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, and quality of life (QOL) and factors related to these variables.

Methods: This exploratory study evaluated QOL among spouses of prostate cancer survivors at 24 months after treatment. Partners completed a battery of self-report questionnaires in a computer-assisted telephone interview.

Results: The sample consisted of 121 partners with average age of 60 years. There was a significant relationship between partners' perceptions of bother about the man's treatment outcomes and negative appraisal of their care giving experience and poorer QOL. Younger partners who had a more negative appraisal of care giving also had significantly worse QOL.

Conclusions: Men's treatment outcomes continued to bother the partner and resulted in more negative appraisal and lower QOL 2 years after initial prostate cancer treatment. Younger partners may be at greater risk of poorer QOL outcomes especially if they have a more negative view of their caregiving experience.

Implications for Practice: Findings support prior research indicating that prostate cancer affects not only the person diagnosed with the disease but also his partner. Partners may benefit from tailored interventions designed to decrease negative appraisal and improve symptom management and QOL during the survivorship period.

Introduction

Prostate cancer remains the most common form of noncutaneous cancer affecting men. A very high percentage of these men respond to treatment and are living with symptoms associated with the disease and the outcomes of treatment over an extended period. Although treatment options vary, these options often result in changes within the family that affect the quality of life (QOL) of the couple.1-3 Spouses play a central role in men's choice of treatment[4] and in maintaining men's QOL[5,6] and are the major providers of emotional support;[7,8] however, there is an emotional cost.[9] Although spouses report more emotional distress associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer than their husbands report,[10,11] the duration of distress for spouses is seldom examined. The overall purpose of this study was to determine the long-term effects of certain medical and demographic factors on spouses' appraisal of their care giving experience, sexual satisfaction, marital satisfaction, and QOL at 24 months following treatment. This study expanded on a large, multisite (6 sites across the United States) prospective study being conducted with prostate cancer patients, which also evaluated spouses' satisfaction with their husbands' medical treatment.[9] The specific objectives of this study were to (1) describe the multidimensional QOL, marital satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction of spouses of men treated for prostate cancer at 2 years following treatment and (2) identify factors associated with spouse's appraisal of care giving, sexual satisfaction, marital satisfaction, and QOL.

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