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J Behav Med. 2013 Aug;36(4):389-400. doi: 10.1007/s10865-012-9434-0. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Couples coping with multiple sclerosis: a dyadic perspective on the roles of mindfulness and acceptance.

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School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, 4072, Australia.


This study investigated the roles of mindfulness and acceptance on adjustment in couples coping with multiple sclerosis (MS) by examining the effects of an individual's mindfulness and acceptance on their own adjustment (actor effects) and the effects of their partner's mindfulness and acceptance on their adjustment (partner effects) using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. The study was a cross-sectional standard dyadic design that collected data from couples coping with MS. Sixty-nine couples completed measures of mindfulness, acceptance and adjustment (depression, anxiety, life satisfaction, positive affect and relationship satisfaction). As hypothesised there were actor effects of mindfulness and acceptance on better adjustment, however, the beneficial actor effects of mindfulness were only evident on depression and anxiety. The actor effects of both mindfulness and acceptance on relationship satisfaction were moderated by MS status. Regarding partner effects, there was support for the beneficial impact of acceptance on partner relationship satisfaction. In addition, the partner effect of acceptance moderated the actor effect of acceptance on depression, such that the actor effect on lower depression was weaker when the partner reported high acceptance. Findings support the roles of mindfulness and acceptance in shaping individual and dyadic adjustment in couples coping with chronic illness.

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