The diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer (PCa) can be a distressing experience for many men. Common treatment-related side effects can have an emasculating effect and may compromise men’s sense of their masculinity. The aim of this study was to explore whether masculine self-esteem influences mental wellbeing among men with PCa.
In this cross-sectional study, 333 men with PCa completed a computer assisted telephone interview including questionnaires on physical and mental wellbeing (SF-36), PCa specific adverse effects (EORTC QLQ-PR25), depression (Male Depression Risk Scale), masculine self-esteem (Masculinity in Chronic Disease Inventory), and exercise behaviour (Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire). A hierarchical linear regression with bootstrapped confidence intervals was performed in five blocks: (i) age, marital status, education; (ii) time since diagnosis, tumor stage, current treatment, BMI; (iii) physical wellbeing, PCa specific adverse effects, depression; (iv) exercise levels; and (v) masculine self-esteem.
Participants with superior mental wellbeing were older, in a relationship, received post-high school education, longer time since diagnosis, had a lower BMI, less PCa treatment-related adverse effects and higher levels of masculine self-esteem (p<0.05). The most important predictors of mental wellbeing were masculine self-esteem, physical wellbeing and depression risk factors (p=0.001).
Men can find it personally challenging to engage in health help-seeking and navigate services when it comes to their mental health. This research suggests that masculine self-esteem is a significant factor contributing to the psychological health of men with PCa. As such, supportive care services that are linked to masculine values and affirm masculine self-esteem may promote mental wellbeing in men with PCa.