Calibrating independence goals and partner support: Couples adjust to functional limitations after tumor surgery - Abstract

BACKGROUND: When patients recover from disease-related functional limitations, support received from partners may not always match patients' changing independence goals.

The lines of defense (LoD) model proposes a hierarchy of independence goals (LoDs), ranging from minimising discomfort by disengagement (lowest LoD) to protection of self-reliance (highest LoD). Prostate cancer patients' LoDs were examined as moderators of the association between partner support and patients' and partners' affect during patients' recovery from postsurgical functional limitations.

METHODS: Data from 169 couples were assessed four times within 7 months following patients' surgery. Patients reported on post-surgery functional limitations (i.e. incontinence), LoDs, affect, and received partner support. Partners reported on affect and support provided to patients.

RESULTS: In patients endorsing lower LoDs, more received support was associated with less negative affect. Also, not endorsing high LoDs while receiving strong partner support was related to patients' lower negative and higher positive affect. Partners' support provision to patients tended to be associated with increases in partners' negative affect when patients had endorsed higher LoDs and with increases in positive affect when patients had endorsed lower LoDs.

CONCLUSIONS: Matching patients' independence goals or LoDs with partners' support may be beneficial for patients' and partners' affect.

Written by:
Knoll N, Wiedemann AU, Schrader M, Felber J, Burkert S, Daig I, Heckhausen J.   Are you the author?
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

Reference: Appl Psychol Health Well Being. 2015 Mar 27. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1111/aphw.12043

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 25820331 Prostate Cancer Section