The Ecology of Patients’ Sexual Health Adjustment After Prostate Cancer Treatment: The Influence of the Social and Healthcare Environment

Asa Benjamin Smith, BSN, RN; Daniela Wittmann, PhD, LMSW; Denise Saint Arnault, PhD, RN, FAAN


Purpose: Little empirical research identifies environmental influences on sexual recovery of men with prostate cancer. This secondary qualitative analysis aimed to describe the role of the patients’ environment on their sexual recovery process following prostate cancer surgery.

Participants & Setting: Transcripts of interviews with 8 heterosexual men were randomly selected and analyzed from a sample of 18 at three months postprostatectomy.

Methodologic Approach: The study was based on the social ecological model. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied to examine environmental factors affecting sexual recovery through the participant’s perspective.

Findings: The value of trusted connections and support extended beyond the partner to the patient’s social and healthcare networks.

Implications for Nursing: These findings support the need for providers to assess the full constellation of patients’ environmental experiences to better understand sexual recovery.

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