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Describing Health-Related Outcomes for Couples Experiencing Prostate Cancer: Differences and Similarities

Michael E. Galbraith
Leli W. Pedro
Anna R. Jaffe
Tiffany L. Allen
ONF 2008, 35(5), 794-801 DOI: 10.1188/08.ONF.794-801

Purpose/Objectives: To describe health-related outcomes for couples dealing with prostate cancer before the patient started treatment and 6, 12, and 18 months after treatment.

Design: Survey with longitudinal, comparative, and predictive elements.

Setting: Tertiary care nonprofit medical center in the southwestern United States.

Sample: A convenience sample of 216 patients treated for prostate cancer and their partners was enrolled. The mean age of patients was 68 years; 64 years for their partners. The average length of marriage was about 35 years. About 75% of patients and more than 50% of partners had at least some college education.

Methods: Study participants completed questionnaires before treatment and 6, 12, and 18 months after treatment.

Main Research Variables: Health-related quality of life, health status, and marital satisfaction.

Findings: Patients' scores were associated with partners' scores more than 50% of the time throughout the study. Relationship satisfaction was the most strongly related variable between patient and partner. Cross-lag analyses suggest that couples' scores demonstrate a reciprocal pattern of influence between the dyads throughout the study.

Conclusions: Patients' scores were associated with partners' scores on most outcome variables. Both are affected by prostate cancer and the treatment experience.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses should actively include partners in all information and education sessions connected with prostate cancer treatment and follow-up. In addition, the unique experiences of partners of patients with prostate cancer should be identified and addressed.

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