The self-directed learning of men with prostate cancer


  • Kathleen B. Rager University of Oklahoma


The purpose of this qualitative study is to describe the self-directed learning experiences of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 prostate cancer patients. The interview transcripts were analyzed using the constant comparative method. The results indicate that the common motivations for their learning were the need to make informed treatment decisions, the need to select doctors, and the desire to find out from survivors what they might be facing. The common problems they described concerned the time pressure they experienced and the complexity of some of the material they accessed. The results of their learning assisted them in making treatment decisions, in choosing doctors, were somewhat useful in dealing with the side effects of their treatments, and prepared them to help other newly diagnosed men. The findings are discussed in regard to the literature on self-directed learning and prostate cancer as well as in regard to gender differences that emerge when contrasting the results with prior research on self-directed learning and breast cancer.




How to Cite

Rager, K. B. (2007). The self-directed learning of men with prostate cancer. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 20(1), 32–49. Retrieved from