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What Are the Experiences of Men Affected by Prostate Cancer Participating in an Ecological Momentary Assessment Study?

Paterson, Catherine, PhD, MSc, BA, RAN, PgCert LTA, FHEA; Primeau, Charlotte, PhD, MSc, BSc; Lauder, William, PhD, MSc

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000699
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Background Within the cluster of self-report methodologies, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is a method used in health services research whereby a participant repeatedly reports on affect, behaviors, symptoms, and cognitions as they occur in real time in the participant’s natural environment. However, little is known about the impact of participating in an EMA study on individuals’ experiences who are affected by prostate cancer.

Objectives The aims of this study were to explore the lived experiences of men affected by prostate participating in an EMA study and assess whether their participation in EMA alters their representation of their condition.

Methods Participants (n = 12) were purposively recruited from 2 university teaching hospitals in Scotland. Semistructured interviews were conducted with men affected by prostate cancer following the completion of EMA data collection. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results The lived experience of prostate cancer included 6 superordinate themes: isolation in the healthcare system, lack of shared care plans, informational support, coping with prostate cancer, fear of death and dying, and vocational rehabilitation. The organizing theme electronic diary as an intervention included 4 superordinate themes: changing self-management behaviors, habitual experience, changing perceptions, and diary in daily life.

Conclusion We observed that men participating in the EMA study described several methodological complexities, which need to be addressed through future research.

Implications for Practice Importantly, there is a need for the health system to prioritize research and develop a more holistic approach to prostate cancer care in line with men’s preferences and needs in the future.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Public Health, University of Canberra (Dr Paterson), ACT, Australia; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (Drs Paterson and Primeau); and School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Highlands and Islands, Inverness (Dr Lauder), United Kingdom.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Catherine Paterson, PhD, MSc, BA, RAN, PgCert LTA, FHEA, Associate Professor in Nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Public Health, University of Canberra, ACT, Australia School of Nursing and Midwifery, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, United Kingdom AB10 7QG, (catherine.paterson@canberra.edu.au).

Accepted for publication November 7, 2018.

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