Individual and dyadic relations between spiritual well-being and quality of life among cancer survivors and their spousal caregivers

Youngmee Kim, Charles S. Carver, Rachel L. Spillers, Corinne Crammer, Eric S. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Objectives: There is evidence that cancer generates existential and spiritual concerns for both survivors and caregivers, and that the survivor's spiritual well-being (SWB) is related to his/her own quality of life (QOL). Yet the degree to which the SWB of each member of the couple has an independent association with the partner's QOL is unknown. Thus, this study examined individual and dyadic associations of SWB with the QOL of couples dealing with cancer. Methods: A total of 361 married survivor-caregiver dyads participating in the American Cancer Society's Study of Cancer Survivors-I and Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers provided complete data for the study variables. SWB was measured using 12-item Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-Being (assessing faith, meaning, and peace) and QOL was measured using Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. Results: Actor and Partner Interdependence Model analyses revealed that each person's SWB was the strongest correlate of his or her own mental health (higher SWB, better mental health). Each person's SWB was also positively related to his or her partner's physical health. Conclusions: Results suggest that the ability to find meaning and peace may be an important part of overall well-being during the cancer experience for both survivors and caregivers. Interventions designed to assist survivors and caregivers to enhance their ability to find meaning and peace in the cancer experience may help them improve mental health of their own and the physical health of partners when they are dealing with cancer beyond the initial phase of the illness trajectory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-770
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • cancer
  • dyadic adjustment
  • mental and physical health
  • oncology
  • quality of life
  • spiritual well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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