Androgen Deprivation Therapy and maintenance of intimacy: A randomized controlled pilot study of an educational intervention for patients and their partners - Abstract

PURPOSE: Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer is associated with many treatment side effects that tend to erode couples' intimacy.

We piloted a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effect of an educational intervention designed to preserve couples' intimacy in the face of ADT.

METHODS: Couples were recruited at the time the patient was first prescribed ADT and were randomized to a treatment or control group. Those in the treatment group were asked to read an educational guide and participate in an educational session designed to inform couples about possible ADT side effects and management strategies. To assess changes in the couples' relationships, they were administered the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships questionnaire prior to randomization and again at 6months.

RESULTS: While results were not statistically significant, trends and effect sizes suggest that the educational intervention helped attenuate declines in intimacy for patients, but not for their partners. Couples who participated in the intervention were more successful at maintaining sexual activity than were couples in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: ADT places considerable strain on intimate relationships, particularly for the partners. It appears that patients who receive help in anticipating and managing ADT related changes report better dyadic adjustment and closer intimacy. More efforts are needed to develop interventions to benefit patients' partners. We conclude that the intervention holds promise and that a full-scale evaluation of the intervention is both feasible and warranted.

Written by:
Walker LM, Hampton AJ, Wassersug RJ, Thomas BC, Robinson JW.   Are you the author?
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Alberta, Canada.

Reference: Contemp Clin Trials. 2012 Dec 4;34(2):227-231.
doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2012.11.007

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 23220254

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