Sexual health and intimacy are consistently reported among the top unmet supportive care needs of prostate cancer (PC) survivors. With an aging population and advances in PC detection and treatment, the need for better PC sexual health interventions is acute.
Examine the feasibility of a mindfulness-based therapy group aimed at improving sexual intimacy for couples following PC treatments.
A 4-session mindfulness-based group intervention was developed for PC survivors (mean age 65.6 yrs) and their partners (mean age 61.4 yrs). A mixed-methods approach was adopted to account for small sample sizes (N = 14 couples). Findings will guide future treatment refinement via participants’ lived experiences.
Quantitative outcomes assessed pretreatment, immediately after treatment, and 6 months later included relationship adjustment, sexual satisfaction, sexual function, depression, anxiety, and mindfulness. Qualitative outcomes used Grounded Theory Approach following posttreatment exit interviews.
Effect sizes 6 months posttreatment indicated moderate improvements in overall sexual satisfaction and large increases in mindfulness in PC survivors, small decreases in sexual intimacy reported by partners, and small increases in anxiety in PC survivors and partners. Qualitative outcomes revealed 6 themes: (i) PC treatments must view PC as a couple’s disease; (ii) PC treatments must consider the impact of illness on individuals and the couple; (iii) Mindfulness was a valued treatment modality; (iv) Individual factors contribute to outcomes, and therefore, must be considered; (v) Multiple perceived mechanisms for change exist; (vi) Group format is a therapeutic element of the process.
An acceptance-based approach to sexual intimacy needs among PC survivors and their partners is feasible. While this small-scale preliminary study suggests that mindfulness may address some currently unmet needs among this population, randomized clinical trials are needed. JA Bossio, CS Higano, LA Brotto. Preliminary Development of a Mindfulness-Based Group Therapy to Expand Couples’ Sexual Intimacy after Prostate Cancer: A Mixed Methods Approach. Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX-XXX.