The objective of this study is to develop and assess the efficacy of a unique online psychological intervention that is accessible, user friendly and engaging to men with prostate cancer and that reduces the stigma of psychological distress in the context of prostate cancer.
This randomised controlled trial is examining the efficacy of an online CBT-based self-directed intervention which aims to provide experiential as well as information and psycho-educational material to men diagnosed with prostate cancer across a range of topic areas delivered across 6 modules. The topics explored include identifying emotions and feelings; an introduction to CBT and the role of thought processes and beliefs; communication; coping with physical changes; sexuality and masculinity; sexuality and intimacy and relationships; fear of recurrence and planning for the future.
Participants are randomly assigned to one of three (3) intervention arms. Group 1: online intervention, group 2: online intervention plus access to the moderated bulletin board; Group 3: moderated bulletin board only. Participants will be assessed utilising the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995), the Prostate Cancer-Related Quality of Life scale (PCa-QoL; Clark et al., 2003), the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF; Rosen et al., 1997), the Dyadic Sexual Communication Scale-short form (Catania, 1998), the Communication Pattern Questionnaire - Short Form (CPQ-SF; Christensen & Heavy, 1990) and the Kansas Martial Satisfaction Survey (Schumm, Nichols, Schectman & Grigsby,1985).
The program has been pilot tested with 65 men. Participant feedback indicated that the program is acceptable to the target population and use of video throughout the program is highly regarded. Sequential progression through the six modules was deemed to be problematic by pilot users and feedback indicated that users would prefer to have the capability to select key modules that were relevant to them. Half of the users engaged their partners in the exercises and those who did not reported that they preferred to explore the program alone before talking to their partner about it. Modifications to the program have been implemented based on the results of the pilot testing and the RCT is currently underway. Preliminary results from the RCT will also be presented comparing the outcomes of participants across the three groups. User satisfaction with the program and feedback will be presented as well as usability and acceptability data in relation to the online program.
This novel online psychological intervention for men with prostate cancer could provide a way in which support can be delivered to the majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer despite geographic location. The anonymity of the online medium could also provide a forum for men to access appropriate support without fear of stigma that still surrounds psychological or emotional distress in the wider community.