Unintended effects of staying positive: investigating the influence of partners' coping style on patients' adjustment to breast cancer Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Paprocki, Christine
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Treatment for breast cancer involves both a patient and her family members. Partners may be particularly affected, as they are often the primary source of support for the patient. Some partners want to protect the patient by avoiding discussions of her cancer-related distress. However, research suggests that if partners do this, there may be detrimental effects on patients' well-being. This paper presents findings from 161 couples enrolled in a couples-based intervention for women with early-stage breast cancer. The findings indicate that when partners of breast cancer patients engaged in distancing behavior, the patient experienced more depressive symptoms. Also, patients who had higher marital satisfaction reported more cancer pain when their partners avoided discussing the cancer compared to patients who had lower marital satisfaction. These findings imply that partners' distancing behavior is associated with lower patient well-being, and perhaps functions differently in couples with high marital satisfaction.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Psychology."
  • Baucom, Donald
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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