The association between partner support and psychological distress among prostate cancer survivors in a nationwide study.

Author(s): Kamen C,  Mustian KM,  Heckler C,  Janelsins MC,  Peppone LJ,  Mohile S,  McMahon JM,  Lord R,  Flynn PJ,  Weiss M,  Spiegel D,  Morrow GR

Journal: J Cancer Surviv

Date: 2015 Sep

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): NCORP

PubMed ID: 25603949

PMC ID: PMC4510042

Abstract: PURPOSE: Up to 38% of prostate cancer survivors experience significant psychological distress; 6-16% are diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders. Support from a relationship partner can ameliorate psychological distress, but many studies treat relationship status as a dichotomous predictor without accounting for level of support provided by the partner. METHODS: The current study is a secondary analysis of a sample of 292 prostate cancer survivors recruited by nine Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) sites around the USA to a larger randomized controlled trial. Self-reported distress was measured at a baseline visit using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and partner support was measured using the Social Network and Support Assessment (SNSA). Post hoc groups consisting of unmarried survivors, married survivors with low partner support (SNSA scores below the median), and married survivors with high partner support (SNSA scores above the median) were compared on distress using univariate and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) analyses. RESULTS: Married prostate cancer survivors with high partner support reported significantly lower levels of psychological distress than the other two groups on the total distress scale (16.20-19.19 points lower, p < 0.001). After adjusting for multiple comparisons, this pattern was also seen for subscales of distress. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the importance of assessing both partner support and marital status when evaluating a survivor's psychosocial functioning and support network. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Assessing support could improve understanding of the association between partner support and prostate cancer survivors' psychological distress and could lead to interventions to bolster support and reduce distress.