Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 2967–2976 | Cite as

Couple distress after localised prostate cancer

  • Suzanne K. ChambersEmail author
  • Leslie Schover
  • Lisa Nielsen
  • Kim Halford
  • Samantha Clutton
  • Robert A. Gardiner
  • Jeff Dunn
  • Stefano Occhipinti
Original Article



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 cancer Psychosocial adjustment Couples Partners 



This project was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (ID496001) and Andrology Australia. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand, of Mr Bill McHugh and Mr Spence Broughton as consumer advisors in the undertaking of this research and of Miss Leah Zajdlewicz for her assistance with the analysis.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest for any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne K. Chambers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 11
    Email author
  • Leslie Schover
    • 4
  • Lisa Nielsen
    • 2
  • Kim Halford
    • 5
  • Samantha Clutton
    • 2
  • Robert A. Gardiner
    • 6
    • 7
  • Jeff Dunn
    • 2
    • 8
    • 9
  • Stefano Occhipinti
    • 10
  1. 1.Griffith Health InstituteGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Cancer Council QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Prostate Cancer Foundation of AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  5. 5.School of PsychologyUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  6. 6.University of Queensland Centre for Clinical ResearchUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  7. 7.Department of UrologyRoyal Brisbane and Women’s HospitalBrisbaneAustralia
  8. 8.School of Public HealthGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  9. 9.School of Social ScienceUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  10. 10.Griffith Health Institute and School of Applied PsychologyGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  11. 11.Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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