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More social support needed for couples following a prostate cancer diagnosis

07 September 2017

These are the findings being presented at the Division of Health Psychology conference today by Dr Kayleigh Nelson from Swansea University.

Eighteen couples were recruited following a prostate cancer diagnosis.  Participants took part in interviews at three points – diagnosis, four months following diagnosis and twelve months following diagnosis.

Dr Nelson said that while it was important for couples to manage illness and to reduce its potential intrusion into everyday life, this strategy had psychological costs and benefits. Patients struggled to stay in control of their emotions and their lives. Partners became distressed by the complicated requirements of being supportive while also wanting the patient to maintain self-reliance.

Couples reported the partner as being the main source of emotional support for the patient throughout the illness. Despite this, some men said that it would be helpful to have more one-to-one emotional support from professionals.

Dr Nelson added:

"The findings of this study expand our understanding of the reciprocal support between patients and partners in the months following diagnosis and help us identify what couples require in terms of social support and where there are gaps in support services."

The Division of Health Psychology conference is taking place in Cardiff, 6-8 September 2017.

You can follow the conference on #dhpconf.


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