UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Female partner experiences of prostate cancer patients’ engagement with a community-based football intervention: a qualitative study Midtgaard, Julie; Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, Tine; Rørth, Mette; Kronborg, Malene; Bjerre, Eik D.; Oliffe, John Lindsay


Background Prostate cancer is often labelled a couple’s disease wherein the partner plays an important role in the man’s illness management and related health promotion activities. The aim of this study was to explore partner experiences of prostate cancer patients’ engagement with a community-based football program. Methods Eight audio-visual recorded semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 39 female partners of men with prostate cancer who participated in a community-based football program as part of the nationwide FC Prostate Community Trial (NCT02430792). Data was managed with the software program Nvivo 11 and analysed inductively to derive thematic findings. Results The four thematic findings were: 1) ‘Hope of a new beginning’ which included stories of hope that football would mitigate the negative effects of men’s prostate cancer treatment [s]; 2) ‘My new partner’ was characterized by attributing connections between physical activity and elevated mood as a by-product of men’s involvement in the program; 3) ‘Football first’ included assertions of the couples mutual commitment to the football program; and 4) ‘Invisible needs’ contrasted insecurity, and unforeseen challenges for partners feeling somewhat neglected. Overall, the results confirm the need for cohesion and flexibility amongst couple-dyads to ensure partners and men with prostate cancer benefit from their involvement in football programs. Conclusions This study indicates that partners of prostate cancer survivors’ engaging with community-based football align to idealized gender relations, roles and identities. In many instances, these gendered dimensions aided positive dyadic coping and long-term exercise adherence.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)