Research projects

Cognitive existential couple therapy for men with early stage prostate cancer and their partners

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Proudly supported by The Movember Foundation.

Principal researchers

Associate Professor Jeremy Couper 1
Dr Ann Boonzaier1
Professor Gillian Duchesne1
Professor Sidney Bloch2
Professor Anthony Love3
Professor Annette Street 4


1 Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (PMCC)
2 Royal College of Psychiatrists and of the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
3 Academic and clinical psychologist
4 La Trobe University



Award type

Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS)

Project completion year


Project brief

The aim of the project is to test the efficacy of the couple-focused intervention cognitive existential couple therapy (CECT) on the psychological and social adjustment of men with early stage prostate cancer and their partners.

The project is a psychosocial intervention that aims to reduce psychological distress and deteriorated social functioning in both members of the couple in the months following diagnosis of early prostate cancer, and if the cancer becomes advanced.

In undertaking the research, two hypotheses will be tested:

Hypothesis 1

Couples who receive CECT will benefit in comparison to controls in terms of reduced psychological distress, more adaptive coping and improved quality of relating.

Hypothesis 2

Moderating factors of age, social context and the complexity of the patient’s clinical course will affect CECT’s efficacy.

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