The study examined whether couples coping with prostate cancer participating in a partnered exercise program-Exercising Together (ET)-experienced higher levels of physical intimacy (i.e., affectionate and sexual behavior) than couples in a usual care (UC) control group.
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Men and their wives (n = 64 couples) were randomly assigned to either the ET or UC group. Couples in the ET group engaged in partnered strength-training twice weekly for 6 months. Multilevel modeling was used to explore the effects of ET on husband and wife engagement in both affectionate and sexual behaviors over time.
Controlling for relationship quality, wives in ET showed significant increases in engagement in affectionate behaviors compared to wives in UC. No intervention effects were found for husbands.
Couple-based approaches to physical intimacy, after a cancer diagnosis, that facilitate collaborative engagement in nonsexual physical activities for the couple have potential to be effective for wives. More research is needed in this area to determine couples most amenable to such exercise strategies, optimal timing in the cancer trajectory, and the benefits of combining partnered exercise with more traditional relationship-focused strategies. (PsycINFO Database Record
Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association. 2015 Oct 12 [Epub ahead of print]
Karen S Lyons, Kerri M Winters-Stone, Jill A Bennett, Tomasz M Beer