Quality of life of couples dealing with cancer: Dyadic and individual adjustment among breast and prostate cancer survivors and their spousal caregivers

Youngmee Kim, Deborah A. Kashy, David K. Wellisch, Rachel L. Spillers, Chiew Kwei Kaw, Tenbroeck G. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

144 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and Purpose: Although evidence suggests that survivors and spousal caregivers tend to experience somewhat similar levels of distress and that the survivor's distress affects his/her own quality of life, the degree to which each person's distress has an independent effect on their partner's quality of life is unknown. Thus, this study aimed to examine the dyadic effects of psychological distress on the quality of life of couples dealing with cancer. Methods: A total of 168 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 study variables. Participating survivors were diagnosed with either breast or prostate cancer approximately 2 years prior to participating in the study. Results: Using the Actor Partner Interdependence Model, results revealed that although each person's psychological distress is the strongest predictor of their own quality of life, partner's distress and (dis)similarity in distress of the couple also play significant roles in one's quality of life. In addition, the adverse effect of having a partner who is less emotionally resourceful was especially pronounced on men's physical health. Conclusions: Our systematic investigation provided valuable evidence for identifying the subgroup of cancer survivors and their spouses who are vulnerable to poor quality of life due to their mutual psychological distress. These findings suggest that couples may benefit from interventions that enhance their ability to manage psychological distress, particularly the wife's, which may improve the mental and physical health of both partners when they are dealing with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-238
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

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Social Adjustment
Caregivers
Survivors
Prostatic Neoplasms
Quality of Life
Breast Neoplasms
Neoplasms
Psychology
Spouses
Men's Health
Aptitude
Mental Health

Keywords

  • Dyadic adjustment
  • Psychological distress
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Quality of life of couples dealing with cancer : Dyadic and individual adjustment among breast and prostate cancer survivors and their spousal caregivers. / Kim, Youngmee; Kashy, Deborah A.; Wellisch, David K.; Spillers, Rachel L.; Kaw, Chiew Kwei; Smith, Tenbroeck G.

In: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 35, No. 2, 01.04.2008, p. 230-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kim, Youngmee ; Kashy, Deborah A. ; Wellisch, David K. ; Spillers, Rachel L. ; Kaw, Chiew Kwei ; Smith, Tenbroeck G. / Quality of life of couples dealing with cancer : Dyadic and individual adjustment among breast and prostate cancer survivors and their spousal caregivers. In: Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2008 ; Vol. 35, No. 2. pp. 230-238.
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