DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The purpose of the proposed study is to explore the benefits of "Exercising Together" - a partnered strength training program for married couples coping with prostate cancer - on the physical and emotional health of prostate cancer survivors (PCS) and their spouses and on marital quality. We propose to conduct a 6- month randomized controlled trial with two groups: 1) Exercising Together - a progressive, supervised resistance exercise program and 2) a usual care control condition. The primary specific aims of this exploratory study are to: 1) Determine the effect of partnered strength training on physical and emotional health (objectively measured physical function and body composition and self-report physical and mental health) in PCS, 2) Determine the effect of partnered strength training on physical and emotional health in spouses and 3) Explore the effect of partnered strength training on marital quality (incongruence, intimacy, relationship quality) of the PCS and spouse. The proposed study is innovative because it applies exercise in a unique fashion, a partnered strength training format, and is the first to study the feasibility of this exercise format in both the chronically ill patient and spouse and study benefits at the individual and couple level. The long-term goal of the proposed research is to develop behavioral interventions that target the specific health needs of cancer survivors and their families. This application addresses the National Cancer Institute's 2008 strategic goals to invest in intervention research on long-term health in cancer survivors and their families17, the Institute of Medicine recommendations about preventing dysfunction and disability in the growing population older cancer survivors as well as addressing the needs of the families of cancer survivors18 and, the PA-06-351 for enhancing survivorship for patients and their families and promoting healthy behaviors among survivors. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE This study is relevant to public health because the knowledge gained will guide the development of evidence- based interventions to improve the health of prostate cancer survivors (PCS) and their spouses. There are over 1.7 million PCS in the U.S., most of whom are older and married. Exercise holds promise to improve the lives of cancer survivors, their spouses and the health of their relationship but has been inadequately studied.
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