Marital reciprocal support in the context of cancer
Dr. Lillian G. Douglass, BSCN, PhD
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- Mu Sigma
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between mutual spouse support and the psychological status of spouses whose mates were being treated for cancer. The conceptual framework was developed from a literature review in which empirical studies and interpersonal theories suggested the importance of social support to health promotion and maintenance in stressful life situations. A descriptive cross-sectional correlational design was used. A convenience sample consisted of 146 individuals (73 couples) one of whom was being treated for cancer. Subjects completed adapted versions of Tilden's Interpersonal Relationships Inventory and Braden's Disease Course Graphic Scale, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies - Depression Scale. Study findings indicate that: (1) Well spouses perceived less support in the marital relationship than did spouses with cancer. (2) Well spouses' depression was lower and self-esteem higher when both spouses perceived high levels of interpersonal support. (3) When both spouses perceived low levels of interpersonal support depression was higher and self-esteem lower in the well spouse. (4) When one spouse perceived high and the other low levels of interpersonal support depression was higher and self-esteem lower in the well spouse. (5) Well spouses' self-esteem was higher when both spouses perceived high levels of marital reciprocal support. (6) When both spouses perceived low levels of marital reciprocal support self-esteem was lower in the well spouse. (7) When one spouse perceived high and the other low levels of marital reciprocal support self-esteem was lower in the well spouse. (8) The greater the absolute difference in dyadic perception of interpersonal support the greater the well spouses' depression. (9) The more well spouses perceived marital reciprocal support the higher was their self-esteem and lower their depression. Research is needed that identifies whether health outcomes are better when spouses support each other than when the well spouse supports the patient without perceiving support in return. Results of this study provide a beginning point from which to pursue theory development, testing, and intervention studies to assist both spouses with optimal management of the cancer experience.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 9032527; ProQuest document ID: 303824130. The author still retains copyright.
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