Prospective study of cancer patients and their spouses: the weakness of marital strength.
Baider L. Koch U. Esacson R. De-Nour AK.
Sharett Institute of Oncology, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.
In a prospective study, 133 married cancer patients and their spouses were interviewed within a month of diagnosis and administered three self-reports: The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) to assess psychological distress, the Impact of Events Scale (IES) to assess coping, and the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scales (FACES III) to assess family relations. Patients and spouses were moderately distressed. The patient's psychological distress was explained by the level of intrusion, by the spouse's psychological distress and cohesion which had a protective effect (R2.41). The spouse's distress was explained by intrusion, gender and, to some extent, by the patient's distress (R2.41); but cohesion had no influence. Only half of the group (as couples) reached the last follow-up nearly 2 years later. A disassociation seems to have occurred; family relations, as well as partner's distress, did not have an influence on either the patient's or spouse's distress. The information gathered at the beginning of the study explained about 25% of the distress 2 years later of male patients and their wives, and that of female patients but not of their husbands.