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Psychol Health. 2009 Apr;24(4):439-55. doi: 10.1080/08870440801919513.

Partner support and distress in women with breast cancer: The role of patients' awareness of support and level of mastery.

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1
Northern Centre for Healthcare Research, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the associations between partners' ways of providing support (both active engagement and protective buffering) and distress in women with breast cancer as a function of patients' awareness of the support received and their sense of mastery. These associations were investigated both cross-sectionally and longitudinally (i.e. changes in distress over time). At 3 months (T1) after diagnosis, women with breast cancer and their partners (n = 82 couples) were assessed regarding partners' supportive behaviour. Women also indicated their sense of mastery. At both 3 and 9 months (T2) after diagnosis, women reported their level of distress. Cross-sectional as well as longitudinal analyses showed that active engagement was unrelated to distress, regardless of patients' awareness of the support received and their feelings of mastery. In contrast, perceived protective buffering was found to be associated with more concurrent distress (i.e. cross-sectionally). Moreover, protective buffering that was reported by partners but remained unnoticed by patients was associated with higher levels of concurrent distress, but only for patients who were low in mastery. Over time, protective buffering that remained unnoticed by patients was associated with more distress, regardless of women's sense of mastery.

PMID:
20205004
DOI:
10.1080/08870440801919513
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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