Unmitigated Communion, Social Constraints, and Psychological Distress Among Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Authors


  • Sharon Danoff-Burg, Department of Psychology, University at Albany; Tracey A. Revenson, Social-Personality Psychology, City University of New York Graduate Center; Kimberlee J. Trudeau, Social-Personality Psychology, City University of New York Graduate Center; Stephen A. Paget, Hospital for Special Surgery.

  • This research was supported by a Postdoctoral Award from the Arthritis Foundation to Sharon Danoff-Burg and Summer Student Research Fellowships from the New York Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation to Kimberlee J. Trudeau. Portions of this research were presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, August 1999, Boston, and at Enhancing Outcomes in Women's Health—An Interdisciplinary Conference Sponsored by the American Psychological Association, February 2002, Washington, DC. We are grateful to Allan Gibofsky for help with referrals and Katy Tai for assistance with the patient registry. We also thank Stephen J. Lepore for his comments on an earlier draft.

concerning this article should be addressed to Sharon Danoff-Burg, Department of Psychology, University at Albany, Albany, NY, 12222. Tel.: +518-442-4911; Fax: +518-442-4867. E-mail: sdb@csc.albany.edu.

Abstract

Abstract The personality trait of unmitigated communion, an extreme focus on relationships that has been associated with self-neglect, has been linked to poorer outcomes for both men and women, but is more common among women. This longitudinal study is the first to examine the influence of unmitigated communion on adaptation to a chronic illness that affects a much greater proportion of women to men. Women with rheumatoid arthritis completed measures of unmitigated communion, social constraints, and psychological distress at study entry and repeated the distress measure one year later. As expected, unmitigated communion was associated with psychological distress. Cross-sectional moderation analyses indicated that low social constraints buffered the negative effects of unmitigated communion.

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