eHealth Literacy and Partner Involvement in Treatment Decision Making for Men With Newly Diagnosed Localized Prostate Cancer

Lixin Song, PhD, RN; Kimberly Tatum, BA, MCRP; Giselle Greene, BA, BSN, RN; and Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH


Purpose/Objectives: To examine how the eHealth literacy of partners of patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer affects their involvement in decision making, and to identify the factors that influence their eHealth literacy.

Design: Cross-sectional exploratory study.

Setting: North Carolina.

Sample: 142 partners of men with newly diagnosed localized prostate cancer.

Methods: A telephone survey and descriptive and multiple linear regression analyses were used.

Main Research Variables: The partners’ eHealth literacy, involvement in treatment decision making, and demographics, and the health statuses of the patients and their partners.

Findings: Higher levels of eHealth literacy among partners were significantly associated with their involvement in getting a second opinion, their awareness of treatment options, and the size of the social network they relied on for additional information and support for treatment decision making for prostate cancer. The factor influencing eHealth literacy was the partners’ access to the Internet for personal use, which explained some of the variance in eHealth literacy.

Conclusions: This study described how partners’ eHealth literacy influenced their involvement in treatment decision making for prostate cancer and highlighted the influencing factors (i.e., partners’ access to the Internet for personal use).

Implications for Nursing: When helping men with prostate cancer and their partners with treatment decision making, nurses need to assess eHealth literacy levels to determine whether nonelectronically based education materials are needed and to provide clear instructions on how to use eHealth resources.

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