Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 711–722 | Cite as

A pilot, multisite, randomized controlled trial of a self-directed coping skills training intervention for couples facing prostate cancer: accrual, retention, and data collection issues

  • Sylvie D. LambertEmail author
  • Patrick McElduff
  • Afaf Girgis
  • Janelle V. Levesque
  • Tim W. Regan
  • Jane Turner
  • Hayley Candler
  • Cathrine Mihalopoulos
  • Sophy T. F. Shih
  • Karen Kayser
  • Peter Chong
Original Article



To examine the acceptability of the methods used to evaluate Coping-Together, one of the first self-directed coping skill intervention for couples facing cancer, and to collect preliminary efficacy data.


Forty-two couples, randomized to a minimal ethical care (MEC) condition or to Coping-Together, completed a survey at baseline and 2 months after, a cost diary, and a process evaluation phone interview.


One hundred seventy patients were referred to the study. However, 57 couples did not meet all eligibility criteria, and 51 refused study participation. On average, two to three couples were randomized per month, and on average it took 26 days to enrol a couple in the study. Two couples withdrew from MEC, none from Coping-Together. Only 44 % of the cost diaries were completed, and 55 % of patients and 60 % of partners found the surveys too long, and this despite the follow-up survey being five pages shorter than the baseline one. Trends in favor of Coping-Together were noted for both patients and their partners.


This study identified the challenges of conducting dyadic research, and a number of suggestions were put forward for future studies, including to question whether distress screening was necessary and what kind of control group might be more appropriate in future studies.


Coping Pilot study Self-care Self-directed intervention Caregivers Partners 



This study was funded by a Clinical Oncological Society of Australia/Sanofi Aventis Advancing the Care for Prostate Care Patients Research Grant 2010.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvie D. Lambert
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Patrick McElduff
    • 2
  • Afaf Girgis
    • 3
  • Janelle V. Levesque
    • 3
  • Tim W. Regan
    • 4
  • Jane Turner
    • 5
  • Hayley Candler
    • 3
  • Cathrine Mihalopoulos
    • 6
  • Sophy T. F. Shih
    • 6
  • Karen Kayser
    • 7
  • Peter Chong
    • 8
  1. 1.Ingram School of NursingMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.School of Medicine and Public HealthThe University of NewcastleNew Lambton HeightsAustralia
  3. 3.Psycho-Oncology Research Group, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW MedicineThe University of New South WalesLiverpoolAustralia
  4. 4.Priority Research Centre for Health BehaviourThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  5. 5.The University of QueenslandHerstonAustralia
  6. 6.Deakin Health Economics, Faculty of HealthDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  7. 7.Kent School of Social WorkUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  8. 8.Lake Macquarie UrologyCharlestownAustralia

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