Pilot feasibility study of a telephone-based couples intervention for physical intimacy and sexual concerns in colorectal cancer.
No studies have tested interventions addressing the sexual concerns of colorectal cancer patients and their partners. The authors reported findings from a pilot feasibility study of a novel telephone-based intimacy enhancement protocol that addresses the intimacy and sexual concerns of couples facing colorectal cancer. On the basis of a flexible coping model, the intervention was designed to help couples make cognitive and behavioral shifts in their intimate relationships. Participants were 18 individuals (9 dyads) who completed the intervention and measures of feasibility (frequency, ease of use, helpfulness of skills, ratings of rapport), program evaluations, and measures of sexual and relationship functioning. Most participants reported that the intervention was "quite a bit" or "extremely" helpful and that they had used the skills taught within the past week. The skills most commonly practiced and perceived as most helpful tended to be behavioral (e.g., trying a new sexual activity). The authors found the largest effect sizes (≥.60) for sexual distress, sexual function (female), and sexual communication. Findings from this pilot study suggest that the intimacy enhancement protocol is feasible and holds promise for improving sexual and intimacy outcomes in colorectal cancer patients and their partners. The authors discuss the research and clinical implications.
Reese, JB; Porter, LS; Somers, TJ; Keefe, FJ
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