Couple Connection and Cancer: Understanding the Mechanisms of Partner Support for Women with Breast Cancer Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Pukay-Martin, Nicole D.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Previous research has demonstrated that social support can be an effective tool for women with breast cancer to cope with negative outcomes due to the disease. Interventions have been created to increase social support for women with breast cancer; however, these interventions have produced inconsistent findings. To create a successful support intervention, research should first identify malleable factors that could lead to changes in support. Communication and relationship schematic processing (RSP) are two such potential factors. The current study investigated the relationship between (a) communication and RSP, (b) partner support satisfaction, and (c) outcomes in women with breast cancer to determine whether communication and RSP are related to support satisfaction, which relates to outcomes. Seventy-eight couples participated in this study as part of a larger intervention study. Couples participated in a videotaped decision-making interaction task, which was observationally coded for communication and RSP. Couples also completed self-report questionnaires, and women completed daily diaries after the assessment. Path analyses suggested that negative couple communication is associated with lower levels of support satisfaction, which is related to less positive mood, higher negative mood, lower role functioning, and less relationship satisfaction in women with breast cancer. Post hoc analyses suggested that, when RSP pull is included in the model, male RSP quality and RSP pull for males are both related to higher support satisfaction, which is related to greater positive mood, less negative mood, higher role functioning, and greater relationship satisfaction. On the other hand, RSP pull for females is associated with lower support satisfaction, which is related to less positive mood, higher negative mood, lower role functioning, and less relationship satisfaction. Implications of these findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)."
  • Baucom, Donald
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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