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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Aug;91(2):255-67.

Does who you marry matter for your health? Influence of patients' and spouses' personality on their partners' psychological well-being following coronary artery bypass surgery.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Research suggests that presurgical personality attributes influence postsurgical well-being in both patients and their spouses in the context of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery. The authors hypothesized that a spouse's characteristics would influence a partner's psychological well-being, regardless of whether he or she was the patient or the caregiver. In this study, 111 male patients and their caregiver spouses completed measures of neuroticism, optimism, perceived marital satisfaction, and depression prior to elective CABG. Follow-up was conducted at 18 months. As expected, higher caregiver presurgical neuroticism predicted higher patient depressive symptoms at follow-up, with caregiver's concurrent 18-month affect controlled for. Likewise, higher patient presurgical neuroticism predicted higher caregiver depressive symptoms at follow-up. Additionally, higher patient presurgical depressive symptoms and lower presurgical optimism contributed to greater caregiving burden. Relationship satisfaction moderated these effects. These results suggest that partners' personality traits are important determinants of both patients' and their caregiving spouses' well-being.

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