INTRODUCTION: Men diagnosed with prostate cancer (PCa) can receive supportive care from an array of sources including female partners and prostate cancer support groups (PCSGs).
However, little is known about how heterosexual gender relations and supportive care play out among couples who attend PCSGs. Distilling such gender relation patterns is a key to understanding and advancing supportive care for men who experience PCa and their families.
PURPOSE: This study describes connections between heterosexual gender relations and PCa supportive care among couples who attend PCSGs.
METHOD:In-depth, individual interviews with 30 participants (15 men treated for PCa and their female partners) were analyzed using interpretive descriptive methods. Couples were asked about their relationships, supportive care needs, and attendance at PCSGs. A heterosexual gender relations framework was used to theorize the findings.
RESULTS: Findings showed that traditional heterosexual gender relations guided most couples' PCa-related support both in and out of PCSGs. Three themes were inductively derived: "Not pushing too hard"-balancing women's support with men's autonomy, "Confreres"-men supporting men at PCSGs, and "Women are better at reassuring"-support from and for women.
CONCLUSIONS: Couples both aligned to and resisted traditional gender roles to accommodate, explain, and rationalize how, as a couple, they approached PCa supportive care needs.
Oliffe JL, Mróz LW, Bottorff JL, Braybrook DE, Ward A, Goldenberg LS. Are you the author?
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, T201-2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 2B3, Canada.
Reference: Support Care Cancer. 2014 Dec 21. Epub ahead of print.