UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Living with Prostate Cancer : A Mixed-methods Evaluation of Group Therapy Intervention to Alleviate Psychological Distress in a Canadian Setting Kuhl, David R.; Lutz, Kevin; Wu, Eugenia; Arsovska, Olga; Berkowitz, Jonathan; Klimas, Jan; Sundar, Monita; Goldenberg, S. Larry (Sheldon Larry), 1953-; Higano, Celestia S.


Purpose: To assess the effects of group therapy focused on the experience of living with prostate cancer (PC) on depression and mental well-being among men with the disease; and to explore participant experiences of a guided opportunity to ‘speak the unspeakable’ as it pertains to living with PC. Methods: We used a mixed-methods convergent design. Participants completed four validated self-report questionnaires at baseline, immediately after the final session, at three, six and 12 months follow-up. A repeated measures mixed-effects model examined the effects of the program on depression, mental well-being, and masculinity. Seven focus groups (n=37) and 39 semistructured individual interviews explored participant reactions at follow-up. Results: Thirty-nine (93%) participants completed the questionnaires at all follow-ups. Responses indicated improved mental well-being up to three months (p<0.01) and a decrease in depressive symptoms to 12 months (p<0.05). Qualitative analysis revealed how the cohesive group environment alleviated psychological stress, enabled participants to identify significant issues and concerns in their lives and improved communication and relationship skills that were of value in the group as well as with family and friends. The facilitation was essential to guiding participants to ‘speak the unspeakable’. Conclusion: Men with PC who speak of their experience in a group setting with a guided process incorporating features of a life review appear to gain insight into the impact of PC in their lives, experience diminished features of depression and isolation, and enhance their communication skills within the groups as well as with family members and friends.

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