“…It might not have occurred to my husband that this woman, his wife who is taking care of him has some emotional needs as well…”: the unheard voices of partners of Black African and Black Caribbean men with prostate cancer
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Evidence suggests that partners of men with prostate cancer (CaP) experience greater psychosocial distress compared with men themselves. However, the experiences of partners of high-risk (1 in 4) Black African (BA) and Black Caribbean (BC) men with CaP remain poorly understood as existing research has predominantly focused on Caucasian populations. This study aimed to address this gap by exploring partners’ experience and support needs as influenced both by the specific impacts of CaP, treatment side effects and socio-cultural context.
Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, eight face-to-face, two Skype and one telephone interviews were conducted with eligible partners (n = 11). The interviews were analysed using constant comparison following key stages of open, focused and theoretical coding.
Three broad categories emerged which described participants’ experiences: ‘partner in the passenger seat’, ‘care-giving on an isolating journey’, and ‘coping as a partner’. Findings showed that BA and BC cultural marital context influenced how partners experienced and traversed the CaP journey. Peripheral involvement in decision-making, communication restrictions, limited access to support and lack of recognition for their experiences and needs further contributed to partners’ psychological and emotional distress.
Cultural beliefs, behaviours and values should be taken into account when developing psychosocial support for partners and their men with CaP. Specifically providing information focused on partners and including them in the CaP care pathway could help ensure that partners’ needs are recognised and improve marital communications. This could potentially help partners and their men to identify acceptable ways of supporting each other throughout the CaP experience.
KeywordsProstate cancer Black African Black Caribbean Partners Wives Experience Grounded theory
The authors would like to thank the healthcare professionals and their respective NHS hospital trusts for assisting with recruiting patients for the study. We also thank all the men who enabled access to their partners to participate in this study. Finally, our gratitude goes to all the women who consented to participate in this study and made the research worthwhile.
The study was funded by an Ulster University Vice-Chancellor’s Research Scholarship to the first author (Olufikayo Bamidele) for her PhD.
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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