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Psychological distress in spouses of men treated for early-stage prostate carcinoma.

journal contribution
posted on 2005-06-01, 00:00 authored by David T. Eton, Stephen J Lepore, Vicki HelgesonVicki Helgeson

BACKGROUND: The authors examined levels and predictors of psychological distress in the wives of men treated for early-stage prostate carcinoma (PCa).

METHODS: Patients with PCa (N = 165) and spouses were interviewed to assess general and cancer-specific distress. Social and intrapersonal factors of spouses as well as clinical characteristics and quality of life of patients were assessed as potential predictors of spouses' distress.

RESULTS: Spouses reported more cancer-specific distress than did patients (P < 0.001), but did not differ from patients in general distress. Several spouse-reported factors predicted higher spouses' distress, including less education (P < 0.005), worse marriage quality and less social support (Ps < 0.005), more negative social interaction with the patient (Ps < 0.001), lower self-esteem (Ps < 0.001), less positive coping (Ps < 0.005), searching for meaning (P < 0.001), not finding meaning (P < 0.005), and greater illness uncertainty (Ps < 0.001). Patients' bowel function and mental health also predicted greater spouses' distress (Ps < 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicated that overall distress in spouses of early-stage patients with PCa was modest, and it was more likely to be predicted by psychosocial than medical factors.