Facilitators and obstacles to couples' intimacy after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a qualitative study.

Journal of Psychosocial Oncology
Laura LupinacciAurélie Untas

Abstract

To identify perceived factors related to intimacy following HSCT. Qualitative descriptive design. Patients diagnosed with hematological cancer, 6 months into their HSCT recovery, and their partners. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants (nine patients and their partners). A thematic analysis was carried out. Couples reported various obstacles to intimacy, such as emotional obstacles (i.e. negative emotions, emotional mismatch), the length of the disease, its treatments and side effects, and the patient's physical condition. Couples also reported facilitators to intimacy, such as using emotional facilitators (e.g. showing empathy), fostering open communication or sharing common experience of the disease. This study highlights specific factors that influence couples' intimacy in the context of HSCT.Implications for Psychosocial Providers: Couples' intervention delivered in cancer care should be adapted by focusing on specific factors that maintain or enhance couples' intimacy.

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