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Research Publications

Purposeful normalization when caring for husbands recovering from prostate cancer.

Williams KC1, Hicks EM, Chang N, Connor SE, Maliski SL.

Despite a growing awareness that prostate cancer is a "couple's disease," the coping strategies, subjective distress, and emotional needs of partners are not adequately addressed. To better understand wives' experiences and processes they enact, we recruited 28 low-income Latinas caring for husbands recovering from prostatectomies to participate in interviews at three time points. Their narratives destabilize a common focus on physical side effects and an implicit bias toward men's reactions. We critically examine an overarching process of normalization, with underlying themes working both toward and against normality. We identified dissonance between detailed accounts of major lifestyle changes and professed normalization. We detail the women's purposeful methods to counteract negative impacts on their lives while seeking support externally. A better understanding of women's strategies and coping is critical to design interventions and education to both capitalize on partners' role in recovery while also addressing hidden causes of increased subjective distress.

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