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Title:Avoiding Communication With Partners While Coping With Breast Cancer: Implications for Health and Relationship Satisfaction
Author(s):Donovan-Kicken, Erin E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Caughlin, John P.
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:Communication about cancer can be a difficult experience for women with breast cancer and their partners, and many couples avoid talking about certain topics for various reasons. Research on coping with cancer in close relationships suggests that it may be detrimental for couples to avoid communicating about cancer; however, the circumstances under which, and the mechanisms through which, topic avoidance predicts negative outcomes remain inadequately understood. This study employed a communication perspective to examine the extent to which avoiding talk about cancer, along with the multifaceted reasons why patients and their partners might avoid talk about cancer, was associated with breast cancer patients' relationship satisfaction, psychological distress, and coping behaviors. Questionnaire responses from 140 women who had recently undergone treatment for breast cancer were examined. Results indicated that the association between topic avoidance and relationship satisfaction differed from the connection between topic avoidance and psychological distress. Certain of patients' and partners' reasons for avoidance moderated the association between topic avoidance and relationship satisfaction, but not between topic avoidance and psychological distress. Coping mediated the association between topic avoidance and psychological distress, but not the association between topic avoidance and relationship satisfaction. The findings of this study suggest that it is important to take into account the motivations for topic avoidance and the coping mechanisms that patients use to understand how topic avoidance predicts relationship and psychological well-being.
Issue Date:2008
Description:266 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3337751
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2008

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