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J Fam Psychol. 2005 Sep;19(3):465-9.

Dyadic adjustment in chronic illness: does relationship talk matter?

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Department of Behavioral Science, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77230-1439, USA.


Relationship talk involves talking about the nature and state of one's relationship. To determine the effectiveness of talking about the relationship when one spouse has a chronic illness, the study involved completion of a confidential questionnaire by 182 married couples. Ninety of these were couples in which both partners were healthy, and 92 were couples in which one spouse had a chronic illness. Results of multilevel modeling analyses showed that the association between relationship talk and dyadic adjustment was stronger for women than for men and for couples with an ill spouse than for couples where both spouses were healthy. These findings highlight the importance of taking a relationship perspective and suggest that relationship talk is a potentially useful tool couples can use in their repertoire of relationship-enhancing behaviors during chronic illness.

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