Objective: This study aims at determining factors related to the intention to participate and actual participation in social support groups for prostate cancer patients, using the framework of the theory of planned behavior. The factors studied are background variables, medical variables, psychosocial variables and attitude, social norms and perceived control.
Methods: From various sources, 238 prostate cancer patients were recruited. The patients filled out a questionnaire, containing standardized instruments on several psychosocial problems and social support, besides questions on demographic and medical characteristics. A specific questionnaire was developed to assess attitude, social norms and perceived control concerning the participation in support groups. From the recruited men, 48 participated in one of the support groups organized by the researchers.
Results: Logistic regression revealed that age, lack of social support, a positive attitude and a high perceive control are predictive for the intention to participate in a social support group. Perceived control and the number of prostate-specific problems did predict the factual participation.
Conclusion: Many prostate cancer patients report psychosocial problems. A more positive attitude towards group participation and the availability of support groups at short travel distance facilitates the interest in and the factual group participation.
Practical implications: Urologist and urological nurses can play a role in creating a more positive attitude towards group participation, especially if the social support system is weak. Groups should be organized close to patients' place of residence.