PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTIONS AND SOCIAL ADJUSTMENT TO LUNG CANCER AS A FUNCTION OF SPOUSE SUPPORT AND COPING STRATEGY

MARY ELIZABETH QUINN, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the role of spouse support and coping efforts in psychological and social adaptation to newly diagnosed lung cancer. The possible interaction of coping and support on adaptation, and the potential interaction of the utilization of specific coping strategies by husband and wife was also explored. A comprehensive battery of tests assessing social support, coping, psychological distress, and social adjustment was administered to 60 male lung cancer patients and their spouses one month after diagnosis (i.e., Time One). Forty-four couples participated in the follow-up assessment four months after diagnosis (i.e., Time Two). Multiple regression analyses at three levels were used to test the hypotheses. These three levels consisted of: (1) independent variables at Time One related to dependent variables at Time One; (2) independent variables at Time One related to dependent variables at Time Two; and (3) independent variables at Time One related to dependent variables at Time Two, with the initial level of the dependent variables controlled in the analysis. This final level allows for an analysis of the change in outcome from Time One to Time Two, and adds strength to any causal interpretation. The stage of the disease, type of lung cancer, other possible illnesses afflicting the patient, race, and age of patient were controlled in all analyses. Results showed that spouse support was related to change in psychological distress and marginally related to social adjustment. The coping strategy of wish-fulfilling fantasy was related to change in distress. In addition, the combination of lower wish-fulfilling fantasy and lower support was significantly related to greater psychological distress. Moreover, the joint utilization of lower levels of wish-fulfilling fantasy by both spouses was marginally related to lower distress. Both emotional expression and self-blaming denial were significantly associated with greater distress. Finally, the combination of lower information seeking and lower support was related to greater psychological distress. Generally, the results suggest that spouse support can serve a beneficial function for lung cancer patients in terms of easing psychological distress. Further studies should evaluate the role of spouse support in the adaptation to cancer for women and for those with other types of cancer. The use of instruments which assess social functioning that is more endemic to the cancer experience is recommended. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

QUINN, MARY ELIZABETH, "PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTIONS AND SOCIAL ADJUSTMENT TO LUNG CANCER AS A FUNCTION OF SPOUSE SUPPORT AND COPING STRATEGY" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8521397.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8521397

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