Social inhibition in men recently treated for localized prostate carcinoma: The effects of social factors and a cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention on the recovery of sexual functioning

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Frank J. Penedo - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Maria M. Llabre - Committee Member


Social inhibition has been linked to poor physical health outcomes in several chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and HIV/AIDS. Extending prior research, this study examined the relationship between social inhibition and the recovery of sexual functioning in men recently treated for prostate carcinoma (PC). Furthermore, this study investigated (a) whether a randomized clinical trial of cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) intervention can improve the recovery of sexual functioning in men recently treated for PC and (b) whether social inhibition moderates this effect. Assessments of personality, sexual functioning, mediator variables, and covariates were made pre- and post-intervention, and at 6-month and 12-month follow-up. Social inhibition was associated with lower pre-intervention levels of sexual functioning, but only in men treated for PC with surgery (i.e., radical prostatectomy) and not in men treated with radiation (i.e., external beam radiation or brachytherapy). Intent-to-treat analyses revealed CBSM intervention effects on sexual functioning for men treated with surgery but not for men treated with radiation. Specifically, surgery participants assigned to the intervention condition were 79% more likely than control participants to report recovered sexual functioning at the post-intervention assessment. Furthermore, social inhibition moderated this effect such that higher levels of social inhibition were associated with larger pre- to post-intervention treatment gains. These findings are the first to report that a psychosocial intervention can improve the recovery of sexual functioning in specific subgroups of men treated for PC. The proposed mediators and clinical implications of these effects are discussed.


Psychology, Clinical; Health Sciences, Oncology

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