Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Whisperings from the master bedroom: Maintaining marital intimacy and well-being after prostate cancer surgery
by Smith, Deborah H., Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2013, 146; 3567475
Abstract (Summary)

The research question answered by this qualitative, narrative design study is how some couples maintained continued marital intimacy and well-being after prostate cancer surgery. It was directed to a purposeful, critical, and criterion based sampling of 5 heterosexual participant couples between the ages of 52 and 65 years old, who had been married for an average of 29 years and who experienced the disruption in their marriage of prostate cancer and its surgical remedy. The research question created a frame for evaluating literature which provided a basic understanding of the physiology associated with prostate cancer and its treatment options, while recognizing and giving appropriate voice through semi-structured interviews to the compromising and potentially traumatic effects of that surgery on couples’ relationships. In addition to the stresses introduced by a prostate cancer diagnosis, a complexity of emotional and physical concerns is realized with existing treatments, often leading to difficult adjustments and long-term consequences. Although extensive volumes of research attest to the vexing interruption to marital intimacy after prostate cancer surgery, there is a lack of direct, narrative inquiry from long-term married couples addressing instead the question of how they prevailed over those profound challenges. This study subsequently positioned itself to the telling of the participants’ stories, before and after surgery, and to the positive inquiry of how they learned from their lived experiences and demonstrated that learning as resilience, resourcefulness, and a determination to maintain a mutually acceptable level of intimacy and well-being in their enduring marriages. Attributes of a fulfilling marriage were also explored as characterizing a committed and happy long-term relationship which supports wellness of mind, body, and spirit. In addition, inquiry was made into the transpersonal aspects and significance of marital well-being and shared practices which help to sustain it.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McCaslin, Mark L.
Commitee: Amoroso, John Z., Elfers, John
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Global Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Surgery, Counseling Psychology, Individual & family studies, Physiological psychology
Keywords: Marital well-being, Marriage foundations, Prostate cancer, Prostate cancer surgery, Prostatectomy, Sexual intimacy
Publication Number: 3567475
ISBN: 9781303192869
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