Cancer Control Research5R21CA108744-02
SPOUSAL COMMUNICATION AND CANCER PREVENTION BEHAVIOR
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): New methods for assessing spouses' persuasive communication are needed, because previous interventions attempting to leverage spousal influence in changing health behavior have achieved limited success. New methods that go beyond self report will provide a more thorough understanding of how spouses actually use persuasive communication to influence behavior change and maintenance. Understanding spouses' persuasive communication practices, and their effectiveness, will provide a stronger foundation for innovative cancer prevention interventions. The study's aims are to: 1) establish the predictive validity of our observational coding measure of persuasive communication by examining whether spouses' persuasive communication style is related to the initiation and maintenance of physical activity after diagnosis of a colon polyp (a condition that doubles the risk of colorectal cancer); 2) establish the construct validity of our observational coding measure of persuasive communication by examining the correlates of persuasive communication; and 3) conduct pre-intervention work that examines the acceptability of a couples-based communication intervention, and develops a program component prototype that will increase effective spousal communication. We will recruit from gastroenterology clinics 80 patients who have undergone adenoma polypectomy and have not engaged in the recommended physical activity levels to reduce colorectal cancer risk, and their marital partners. Spouses' persuasive communication will be assessed with an observational coding system, for which we have already established high reliability, and each spouse will independently complete surveys at baseline and at a three- and six-month follow-up. During each of these assessments both patients and spouses will wear physical activity monitors for seven days. The long-term goal of this research is to develop better interventions which help prevent cancer, and other chronic health conditions, by involving spouses in preventive behavior change programs.