The effects of partnered exercise on physical intimacy in couples coping with prostate cancer

Karen S. Lyons, Kerri M. Winters-Stone, Jill A. Bennett, Tomasz M. Beer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The study examined whether couples coping with prostate cancer participating in a partnered exercise program-Exercising Together (ET)-experienced higher levels of physical intimacy (i.e., affectionate and sexual behavior) than couples in a usual care (UC) control group. Method: Men and their wives (n = 64 couples) were randomly assigned to either the ET or UC group. Couples in the ET group engaged in partnered strength-training twice weekly for 6 months. Multilevel modeling was used to explore the effects of ET on husband and wife engagement in both affectionate and sexual behaviors over time. Results: Controlling for relationship quality, wives in ET showed significant increases in engagement in affectionate behaviors compared to wives in UC. No intervention effects were found for husbands. Conclusion: Couple-based approaches to physical intimacy, after a cancer diagnosis, that facilitate collaborative engagement in nonsexual physical activities for the couple have potential to be effective for wives. More research is needed in this area to determine couples most amenable to such exercise strategies, optimal timing in the cancer trajectory, and the benefits of combining partnered exercise with more traditional relationship-focused strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-513
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Affectionate behaviors
  • Dyadic analysis
  • Physical activity
  • Relationship quality
  • Strength training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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