A developmental-contextual model of couples coping with chronic illness across the adult life span.

Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 15.58). 12/2007; 133(6):920-54. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.6.920
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A developmental-contextual model of couples coping with chronic illness is presented that views chronic illness as affecting the adjustment of both the patient and the spouse such that coping strategies enacted by the patient are examined in relation to those enacted by the spouse, and vice versa. The developmental model emphasizes that dyadic coping may be different at various phases of the life span, changing temporally at different stages of dealing with the illness as well as unfolding daily as spouses interact around dyadic stressors. In addition, couples engaged in dyadic coping are affected by broad sociocultural factors (culture and gender) as well as more proximal contextual factors (quality of the marital relationship and the specific demands of the chronic illness). The model provides a framework for understanding how couples coping with chronic illness may together appraise and cope with illness during adulthood and for determining when spousal involvement is beneficial or harmful to both patient and spousal adjustment. The developmental-contextual model to dyadic appraisal and coping has numerous research implications for the field, and the authors conclude with specific recommendations for future research.

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