Medical Help-Seeking for Sexual Concerns in Prostate Cancer Survivors
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Introduction Although sexual dysfunction is common after prostate cancer, men's decisions to seek help for sexual concerns are not well understood. Aim Describe predictors of actual prior help-seeking and intended future medical help-seeking for sexual dysfunction in prostate cancer survivors. Methods A cross-sectional survey of 510 prostate cancer survivors assessed masculine beliefs, attitudes, support/approval from partner/peer networks (subjective norm), and perceived control as predictors of medical help-seeking for sexual concerns. A theory of planned behavior (TPB) perspective was used to examine actual prior and planned future behavior and contributing factors. Statistical analyses included multiple and logistic regressions. Main Outcome Measures Intention to see a doctor for sexual advice or help in the next 6 months was measured using the intention subscale adapted from the Attitudes to Seeking Help after Cancer Scale. Prior help-seeking was measured with a dichotomous yes/no scale created for the study. Results Men were Mage 71.69 years (SD = 7.71); 7.54 years (SD = 4.68) post-diagnosis; received treatment(s) (58.1% radical prostatectomy; 47.1% radiation therapy; 29.4% hormonal ablation); 81.4% reported severe ED (IIED 0–6) and 18.6% moderate–mild ED (IIED 7–24). Overall, 30% had sought sexual help in the past 6 months, and 24% intended to seek help in the following 6 months. Prior help-seeking was less frequent among men with severe ED. Sexual help-seeking intentions were associated with lower education, prior sexual help-seeking, sexual importance/ priority, emotional self-reliance, positive attitude, and subjective norm (R2 = 0.56). Conclusion The TPB has utility as a theoretical framework to understand prostate cancer survivors' sexual help-seeking decisions and may inform development of more effective interventions. Masculine beliefs were highly salient. Men who were more emotionally self-reliant and attributed greater importance to sex formed stronger help-seeking intentions. Subjective norm contributed most strongly to help-seeking intentions suggesting that health professionals/partners/peers have a key role as support mechanisms and components of psycho-sexual interventions.
© 2016, International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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