Australian men with cancer practice complementary therapies (CTs) as a coping strategy

Nadja Klafke, Jaklin A. Eliott, Ian N. Olver, Gary A. Wittert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Results: Three core themes were identified: men used CTs as (a) problem-focused coping (e.g., diet modification), (b) emotion-focused coping (e.g., meditation), and (c) meaning-based coping (e.g., prayer). Practicing CTs helped men to cope with physical, emotional, and spiritual concerns, although some men spoke of difficulties with practicing meditation to regulate their emotions. SOs were supportive of men's coping strategies but were only rarely involved in men's emotion-focused coping.

Conclusions: Complementary therapies have the potential to facilitate coping with cancer, independent of any measurable physiological benefit. Our findings suggest that when clinicians engage in conversations about CTs use, they should consider the type of coping strategy employed by their patient. Such information may enhance the efficacy of some interventions (e.g., meditation) and also provide for an opportunity to discuss patients' expectations concerning CTs.

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore how and why Australian men with cancer practice complementary therapies (CTs) and how their significant others (SOs) contribute to the regular uptake of CTs.

Methods: This qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews with 26 male cancer patients and 24 SOs. Participants were purposefully sampled from a preceding Australian survey investigating the use of CTs in men with cancer (94% response rate and 86% consent rate for follow-up interview). Interviews were conducted in a metropolitan location, and the 43 interview transcripts were analyzed thematically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1236-1242
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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