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Men’s Psychological Functioning in the Context of Women’s Breast Cancer

Authors


  • Donald H. Baucom, PhD, Jennifer S. Kirby, PhD, and Nicole D. Pukay-Martin, MA, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill; Laura S. Porter, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center; Steffany J. Fredman, PhD, and Tina M. Gremore, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill; Francis J. Keefe, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center; David Atkins, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of Washington.

Address correspondence to Donald H. Baucom, PhD, Davie Hall, Campus Box 3270, Psychology Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3270; E-mail: don_baucom@unc.edu

Abstract

Previous research indicates that men are affected when their female partners have breast cancer. However, little is known about what predicts men’s psychological well-being in this context. The current investigation involved couples in which the woman had early stage breast cancer and explored the degree to which men’s positive and negative well-being was related to women’s well-being, women’s physical symptoms, relationship functioning, and relationship duration. The findings indicate that all of these factors play a role and interact in predicting men’s well-being. In particular, when women have a high level of physical symptoms, the typical associations between men’s well-being with women’s well-being and relationship adjustment no longer persist. Implications for working with couples addressing health problems are provided.

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