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Manne S , Badr H , Zaider T , Nelson C , Kissane D
Cancer-related communication, relationship intimacy, and psychological distress among couples coping with localized prostate cancer
J Cancer Surviv. 2010 Mar;4(1) :74-85
PMID: 19967408    PMCID: PMC2828868   
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INTRODUCTION: The present study evaluated intimacy as a mechanism for the effects of relationship-enhancing (self-disclosure, mutual constructive communication) and relationship-compromising communication (holding back, mutual avoidance, and demand-withdraw communication) on couples' psychological distress. METHODS: Seventy-five men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer in the past year and their partners completed surveys about communication, intimacy, and distress. RESULTS: Multi-level models with the couple as unit of analyses indicated that the association between mutual constructive communication, mutual avoidance, and patient demand-partner withdraw and distress could be accounted for by their influence on relationship intimacy. Intimacy did not mediate associations between self-disclosure, holding back, and partner demand-patient withdraw communication and distress. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that the way in which couples talk about cancer-related concerns as well as the degree to which one or both partners avoid talking about cancer-related concerns can either facilitate or reduce relationship intimacy, and that it is largely by this mechanism that these three communication strategies impact psychological distress. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Relationship intimacy and how patients and partners communicate to achieve this intimacy is important for the psychological adjustment of early stage prostate cancer survivors and their partners.
Manne, Sharon Badr, Hoda Zaider, Talia Nelson, Christian Kissane, David K05 CA109008/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States K07 CA124668/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States P30 CA006927/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States Randomized Controlled Trial Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural United States Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice J Cancer Surviv. 2010 Mar;4(1):74-85. Epub 2009 Dec 6.