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Husbands’ perceptions of their wives’ breast cancer coping efficacy: testing congruence models of adjustment

Authors Merluzzi TV, Martinez Sanchez M

Received 15 November 2017

Accepted for publication 27 December 2017

Published 12 February 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 297—304


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo

Thomas V Merluzzi,1 MaryAnn Martinez Sanchez2

1Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 2Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ, USA

Introduction: Recent reviews have reinforced the notion that having a supportive spouse can help with the process of coping with and adjusting to cancer. Congruence between spouses’ perspectives has been proposed as one mechanism in that process, yet alternative models of congruence have not been examined closely. This study assessed alternative models of congruence in perceptions of coping and their mediating effects on adjustment to breast cancer.
Methods: Seventy-two women in treatment for breast cancer and their husbands completed measures of marital adjustment, self-efficacy for coping, and adjustment to cancer. Karnofsky Performance Status was obtained from medical records. Wives completed a measure of self-efficacy for coping (wives’ ratings of self-efficacy for coping [WSEC]) and husbands completed a measure of self-efficacy for coping (husbands’ ratings of wives’ self-efficacy for coping [HSEC]) based on their perceptions of their wives’ coping efficacy.
Results: Interestingly, the correlation between WSEC and HSEC was only 0.207; thus, they are relatively independent perspectives. The following three models were tested to determine the nature of the relationship between WSEC and HSEC: discrepancy model (WSEC - HSEC), additive model (WSEC + HSEC), and multiplicative model (WSEC × HSEC). The discrepancy model was not related to wives’ adjustment; however, the additive (B=0.205, P<0.001) and multiplicative (B=0.001, P<0.001) models were significantly related to wives’ adjustment. Also, the additive model mediated the relationship between performance status and adjustment.
Discussion: Husbands’ perception of their wives’ coping efficacy contributed marginally to their wives’ adjustment, and the combination of WSEC and HSEC mediated the relationship between functional status and wives’ adjustment, thus positively impacting wives’ adjustment to cancer. Future research is needed to determine the quality of the differences between HSEC and WSEC in order to develop interventions to optimize the impact of these two relatively independent perspectives on cancer outcomes.

Keywords: couples, cancer, coping, adjustment, self-efficacy

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