Couples' support-related communication, psychological distress, and relationship satisfaction among women with early stage breast cancer

Sharon Manne, Marne Sherman, Stephanie Ross, Jamie Ostroff, Richard E. Heyman, Kevin Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examined associations between couple communication about cancer and psychological distress and relationship satisfaction of women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. One hundred forty-eight couples completed a videotaped discussion of a cancer-related issue and a general issue. Patients completed measures of psychological distress and relationship satisfaction. Videotapes were coded with the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System (R. E. Heyman & D. Vivian, 1997). Analyses focused on partner responses to patient self-disclosures. During cancer-issue discussions, patients reported less distress when partners responded to disclosures with reciprocal self-disclosure and humor and when partners were less likely to propose solutions. Fewer links between partner responses to patient self-disclosures and distress were found in general-issue discussions. Results suggest partner responses play a role in women's adaptation to breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-670
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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