SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Knowledge of differences between men and women in adjustment to a chronically ill partner should be of interest to nurses concerned with the rehabilitation of families. Individual characteristics (demographic variables, social and economic resources) and disease-related factors were examined to determine their effects on adjustment. The sample consisted of 33 husbands and 47 wives with ill partners, purposively selected from a variety of sources and representing a variety of chronic illnesses. Although there were no significant differences between the two groups on adjustment measures, item analysis of the scales revealed that wives more often than husbands were dissatisfied with their present lives (51% vs. 41%) and sometimes wanted to leave home (26% vs. 9%). Husbands, more often than wives, experienced difficulty sleeping (30% vs. 23%) and fatigue upon awakening (27% vs. 17%). Both groups reported the greatest gains in the homemaker and spouse roles with husbands reporting the larger gains. For husbands, 4 of 10 social resource variables, 3 of 14 economic resource variables, and 5 of 10 disease-related factors were significant correlates of adjustment, compared with 6 social resource variables, 10 economic resource variables, and 6 disease-related factors for wives. In general, variables relating to the psychosocial adjustments for husbands and wives were different. These findings could provide a basis for assessment of gender differences in spouse adjustment to chronic illnesses.