A Qualitative Exploration of Prostate Cancer Survivors Experiencing Psychological Distress: Loss of Self, Function, Connection, and Control

Lauren Matheson, PhD, MSc, BSc; Johana Nayoan, PhD; Carol Rivas, PhD; Jo Brett, PhD; Penny Wright, PhD; Hugh Butcher; Anna Gavin, PhD; Adam Glaser, PhD; Eila Watson, PhD; Richard Wagland, PhD
ONF
10.1188/20.ONF.318-330

Description

Purpose: To explore the experiences of men with prostate cancer identified as having psychological distress and to identify factors influencing distress.

Participants & Setting: 28 men with prostate cancer diagnosed 18–42 months earlier, identified as having psychological distress on survey measures.

Methodologic Approach: Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis using a framework approach was used.

Findings: Men with psychological distress had strong perceptions of loss toward self (identity, sexuality/masculinity, self-confidence), function (physical activities), connection (relational, social, community), and control (future, emotional). Psychological vulnerability appeared heightened in particular groups of men. Maladaptive strategies of emotional concealment, help-seeking avoidance, and withdrawal appeared to contribute to distress.

Implications for Nursing: Distress in men with prostate cancer is multifaceted. Men with distress should be identified and offered support. Nurse- or peer-led interventions are required.

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