Side by Side - Prediction of Couples' Adjustment to Breast or Gynecological Cancer
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer leads to emotional distress, and major disruptions in role functioning. Traditionally, psychosocial services offer individuals diagnosed with cancer peer group support or individual counseling with only few consideration of type or stage of cancer. Besides most cancers significantly impacting not only the individual but also their partners and families, breast and gynecological cancer may be particularly embedded in an interpersonal context, namely in the couple's relationship. Breast and gynecological cancer cause additional concerns about the women' body image, sexual functioning and these cancers may be prone to provoke or enhance maladaptive patterns of interaction between women and their partners. Thus, not only the individual but also the couple's functioning is threatened by these diagnoses.
The aim of the here proposed study is to identify predictors of couple's adjustment and to help couples to improve their ability to support each other during this time. In a multi-site study, we will evaluate the efficacy of a couple-based intervention entitled "Side by Side: Coping with Cancer Together ("Seite an Seite: Krebs Gemeinsam Bewältigen"). The intervention teaches couples relationship skills that have been repeatedly validated within the marital field. The aim of the intervention is to improve couples' skills to talk to each other effectively about cancer-related topics, and enhance (or maintain) an affectionate relationship in the face of death.
We will randomly assign 303 women recently diagnosed with either breast or gynecological cancer and their partners to one of two conditions: (1) Seite an Seite, or (2) Treatment-As-Usual, in which couples receive no active psychosocial intervention. Assessment will be conducted pre-, post-, and at 6 and 12 months follow-up. These assessments include for both partners negative and positive self-report measures of individual functioning (such as mood, anxiety and benefit finding) and relationship functioning (such as relationship distress, communication patterns). Furthermore, at pre-, post- and 12-month Follow-up observational data on mutual supportive behavior when communicating about a cancer-related topic will be collected. The study may enhance our understanding of the significance of relationship skills in the process of adjusting to cancer as a couple and as an individual.
Enhancing Couples Coping
Behavioral: Side by side
Behavioral: couples control condition
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Open Label
|Official Title:||Side by Side - Prediction of Couples' Adjustment to Breast or Gynecological Cancer|
|Study Start Date:||February 2006|
|Study Completion Date:||December 2009|
|Primary Completion Date:||December 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
|Experimental: Side by Side||Behavioral: Side by side|
|Active Comparator: couples control condition||Behavioral: couples control condition|