Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 2967–2976

Couple distress after localised prostate cancer


    • Griffith Health InstituteGriffith University
    • Cancer Council Queensland
    • Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
    • Griffith University
  • Leslie Schover
    • Department of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Lisa Nielsen
    • Cancer Council Queensland
  • Kim Halford
    • School of PsychologyUniversity of Queensland
  • Samantha Clutton
    • Cancer Council Queensland
  • Robert A. Gardiner
    • University of Queensland Centre for Clinical ResearchUniversity of Queensland
    • Department of UrologyRoyal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
  • Jeff Dunn
    • Cancer Council Queensland
    • School of Public HealthGriffith University
    • School of Social ScienceUniversity of Queensland
  • Stefano Occhipinti
    • Griffith Health Institute and School of Applied PsychologyGriffith University
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-013-1868-6

Cite this article as:
Chambers, S.K., Schover, L., Nielsen, L. et al. Support Care Cancer (2013) 21: 2967. doi:10.1007/s00520-013-1868-6



The experience of the diagnosis of prostate cancer is distressing for both men and their partners. The present study describes the prevalence of psychological distress in men with prostate cancer and their partners, and the predictors of adjustment outcomes.


A cross-sectional survey of 189 prostate cancer patients who were scheduled for or had undergone surgery for localised prostate cancer and their partners assessed socio-demographic variables, masculine self-esteem and social intimacy, psychological adjustment and quality of life.


Overall, patients and partners reported low distress; however, female partners were more anxious with 36 % reporting mild to severe anxiety. For men, masculine self-esteem and time since diagnosis were most strongly related to mental health status; urinary bother most influenced physical quality of life. For female partners, the man’s psychological distress and his sexual bother were most strongly related to her mental health status; higher social intimacy was most strongly associated with physical quality of life.


The correlates of distress after the diagnosis of prostate cancer differ between patients and female partners. For men, masculine self-esteem may be most crucial, whereas for women, her partner’s level of distress may matter most. Research to better understand these interactions is needed.


Prostate cancerPsychosocial adjustmentCouplesPartners

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013