Advertisement

Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 91–103 | Cite as

Benefit-Finding Among Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Positive Effects on Interpersonal Relationships

  • Sharon Danoff-Burg
  • Tracey A. Revenson
Article

Abstract

This longitudinal study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis used mixed methods to identify and describe the positive effects of illness on relationships, examine correlates of benefit-finding, and test the relationship between benefit-finding and adjustment outcomes. When asked about interpersonal benefits of their illness, 71.3% of the respondents described interpersonal benefits, whereas 16.2% reported another type of benefit, and 12.5% reported no benefits. The most frequently described benefit was appreciation of support received from loved ones. Less pain, lower psychological distress, and perceiving fewer social constraints were related to finding interpersonal benefits in the illness experience. Interpersonal benefit-finding predicted lower levels of disability at a 12-month follow-up. Findings are discussed with regard to conceptual issues, methodological recommendations, and implications for interventions.

Keywords

benefit-finding interpersonal relationships rheumatoid arthritis chronic illness 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Affleck, G., Pfeiffer, C., Tennen, H., and Fifield, J. (1988). Social support and psychological adjustment to rheumatoid arthritis: Quantitative and qualitative findings. Arthritis Care Res 1: 71–77.Google Scholar
  2. Affleck, G., and Tennen, H. (1996). Construing benefits from adversity: Adaptational significance and dispositional underpinnings. J. Pers. 64: 899–922.Google Scholar
  3. Affleck, G., Tennen, H., Croog, S., and Levine, S. (1987). Causal attribution, perceived benefits, and morbidity after a heart attack: An 8-year study. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 55: 29–35.Google Scholar
  4. Baumeister, R. F., and Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychol. Bull. 117: 497–529.Google Scholar
  5. Blalock, S. J., DeVellis, R. F., Brown, G. K., and Wallston, K. A. (1989). Validity of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale in arthritis populations. Arthritis Rheum. 32: 991–997.Google Scholar
  6. Bower, J. E., Kemeny, M. E., Taylor, S. E., and Fahey, J. L. (1998). Cognitive processing, discovery of meaning, CD 4 decline, and AIDS-related mortality among bereaved HIV-seropositive men. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 66: 979–986.Google Scholar
  7. Carver, C. S., Pozo, C., Harris, S. D., Noriega, V., Scheier, M. F., Robinson, D. S., Ketcham, A. S., Moffat, F. L., Jr., and Clark, K. C. (1993). How coping mediates the effect of optimism on distress: A study of women with early stage breast cancer. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 65: 375–390.Google Scholar
  8. Collins, R. L., Taylor, S. E., and Skokan, L. A. (1990). A better world or a shattered vision? Changes in life perspectives following victimization. Soc. Cogn. 8: 263–285.Google Scholar
  9. Cordova, M. J., Cunningham, L. L., Carlson, C. R., and Andrykowski, M. A. (2001). Posttraumatic growth following breast cancer: A controlled comparison study. Health Psychol. 20: 176–185.Google Scholar
  10. Coyne, J. C., and Fiske, V. (1992). Couples coping with chronic and catastrophic illness. In Akamatsu, T. J., Stephens, M. A. P., Hobfoll, S. E., and Crowther, J. (Eds.), Family Health Psychology, Hemisphere, Washington, DC, pp. 129–149.Google Scholar
  11. Curbow, B., Somerfield, R., Baker, F., Wingard, J. R., and Legro, M. W. (1993). Personal changes, dispositional optimism, and psychological adjustment to bone marrow transplant. J. Behav. Med. 16: 423–443.Google Scholar
  12. Danoff-Burg, S., Ayala, J., and Revenson, T. A. (2000). Researcher knows best? Toward a closer match between the concept and measurement of coping. J. Health Psychol. 5: 183–194.Google Scholar
  13. Danoff-Burg, S., and Revenson, T. A. (2000). Rheumatic illness and relationships: Coping as a joint venture. In Schmaling, K. B., and Sher, T. G. (Eds.), The Psychology of Couples and Illness, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 105–133.Google Scholar
  14. Danoff-Burg, S., Revenson, T. A., Trudeau, K. J., and Paget, S. A. (2004). Unmitigated communion, social constraints, and psychological distress among women with rheumatoid arthritis. J. Pers. 72: 29–46.Google Scholar
  15. Davis, C. G., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., and Larson, J. (1998). Making sense of loss and benefiting from the experience: Two construals of meaning. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 75: 561–574.Google Scholar
  16. Derogatis, L. R., Lipman, R. S., Rickels, K., Uhlenhuth, E. H., and Covi, L. (1974). The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL): A self-report symptom inventory. Behav. Sci. 19: 1–15.Google Scholar
  17. DeVellis, B. M., Revenson, T. A., and Blalock, S. J. (1997). Rheumatic disease and women’s health. In Gallant, S. J., Keita, G. P., and Royak-Schaler, R. (Eds.), Health Care for Women: Psychological, Social, and Behavioral Influences, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 333–347.Google Scholar
  18. Fries, J., Spitz, P., and Young, D. (1982). The dimensions of health outcomes: The Health Assessment Questionnaire, disability, and pain scales. J. Rheumatol. 9: 789–793.Google Scholar
  19. Fritz, H. L. (2000). Gender-linked personality traits predict mental health and functional status following a first coronary event. Health Psychol. 19: 420–428.Google Scholar
  20. Gardiner, P. V., Sykes, H. R., Hassey, G. A., and Walker, D. J. (1993). An evaluation of the Health Assessment Questionnaire in long-term longitudinal follow-up of disability in rheumatoid arthritis. Br. J. Rheumatol. 32: 724–728.Google Scholar
  21. Gordon, P., Feldman, D., Crose, R., Schoen, E., Griffing, G., and Shankar, J. (2002). The role of religious beliefs in coping with chronic illness. Couns. Values 46: 162–174.Google Scholar
  22. Holland, J. C., and Lewis, S. (2000). The Human Side of Cancer: Living With Hope, Coping With Uncertainty, HarperCollins, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Ickovics, J. R., Thayaparan, B., and Ethier, K. A. (2001). Women and AIDS: A contextual analysis. In Baum, A., Revenson, T. A., and Singer, J. E. (Eds.), Handbook of Health Psychology, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 817–839.Google Scholar
  24. John-Roger, and McWilliams, P. (1991). You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought, Prelude, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  25. Katz, R. C., Flasher, L., Cacciapaglia, H., and Nelson, S. (2001). The psychosocial impact of cancer and lupus: A cross-validation study that extends the generality of “benefit-finding” in patients with chronic disease. J. Behav. Med. 24: 561–571.Google Scholar
  26. Keefe, F. J., Affleck, G., Lefebvre, J. C., Starr, K., Caldwell, D. S., and Tennen, H. (1997). Pain coping strategies and coping efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis: A daily process analysis. Pain 69: 35–42.Google Scholar
  27. Keefe, F. J., Smith, S. J., Buffington, A. L. H., Gibson, J., Studts, J. L., and Caldwell, D. S. (2002). Recent advances and future directions in the biopsychosocial assessment and treatment of arthritis. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 70: 640–655.Google Scholar
  28. Kenny, D. A., Kashy, D. A., and Bolger, N. (1998). Data analysis in social psychology. In Gilbert, D., Fiske, S., and Lindzey, G. (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology, 4th ed., Vol. 1, McGraw-Hill, Boston, pp. 233–265.Google Scholar
  29. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., McGuire, L., Robles, T. F., and Glaser, R. (2002). Emotions, morbidity, and mortality: New perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology. Ann. Rev. Psychol. 53: 83–107.Google Scholar
  30. King, L. A., and Miner, K. N. (2000). Writing about the perceived benefits of traumatic events: Implications for physical health. Pers. Soc. Psychol. Bull. 26: 220–230.Google Scholar
  31. Lanza, A. F., Cameron, A. E., and Revenson, T. A. (1995). Helpful and unhelpful support among individuals with rheumatic diseases. Psychol. Health 10: 449–462.Google Scholar
  32. Lepore, S. J. (2001). A social-cognitive processing model of emotional adjustment to cancer. In Andersen, B. (Ed.), Psychosocial Interventions for Cancer, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 99–118.Google Scholar
  33. Lepore, S. J., and Eton, D. T. (2000). Response shifts in prostate cancer patients: An evaluation of suppressor and buffer models. In Schwartz, C., and Sprangers, M. (Eds.), Adaptations to Changing Health: Response Shift in Quality-of-Life Research, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 37–51.Google Scholar
  34. Lepore, S. J., Silver, R. C., Wortman, C. B., and Wayment, H. A. (1996). Social constraints, intrusive thoughts, and depressive symptoms among bereaved mothers. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 70: 271–282.Google Scholar
  35. Manne, S., and Zautra, A. (1989). Spouse criticism and support: Their association with coping and psychological adjustment among women with rheumatoid arthritis. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 56: 608–617.Google Scholar
  36. McMillen, J. C., Zuravin, S., and Rideout, G. (1995). Perceived benefit from child abuse. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 63: 1037–1043.Google Scholar
  37. Mohr, D. C., Dick, L. P., Russo, D., Pinn, J., Boudewyn, A. C., Likosky, W., and Goodkin, D. E. (1999). The psychosocial impact of multiple sclerosis: Exploring the patient’s perspective. Health Psychol. 18: 376–382.Google Scholar
  38. O’Leary, V. E., and Ickovics, J. R. (1995). Resilience and thriving in response to challenge: An opportunity for a paradigm shift in women’s health. Womens Health: Res. Gender Behav. Policy 1: 121–142.Google Scholar
  39. Park, C. L. (2004). The notion of stress-related growth: Problems and prospects. Psychol. Inq. 15: 69–76.Google Scholar
  40. Park, C. L., Cohen, L., and Murch, R. (1996). Assessment and prediction of stress-related growth. J. Pers. 64: 71–105.Google Scholar
  41. Peterson, M. G., Horton, R., Engelhard, E., Lockshin, M. D., and Abramson, T. (1993). Effect of counselor training on skills development and psychosocial status of volunteers with systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Care Res. 6: 38–44.Google Scholar
  42. Pincus, T., Summey, J. A., Soraci, S. A., Wallston, K. A., and Hummon, N. P. (1983). Assessment of patient satisfaction in activities of daily living using a Modified Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire. Arthritis Rheum. 26: 1346–1353.Google Scholar
  43. Price, D. D. (1988). Psychological and Neural Mechanisms of Pain, Raven, New York.Google Scholar
  44. Revenson, T. A. (1990). All other things are not equal: An ecological perspective on the relation between personality and disease. In Friedman, H. S. (Ed.), Personality and Disease, Wiley, New York, pp. 65–94.Google Scholar
  45. Revenson, T. A. (2003). Scenes from a marriage: Examining support, coping, and gender within the context of chronic illness. In Suls, J., and Wallston, K. (Eds.), Social Psychological Foundations of Health and Illness, Blackwell, Oxford, England, pp. 530–559.Google Scholar
  46. Revenson, T. A., and Danoff-Burg, S. (2000). Arthritis. In Kazdin, A. E. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Psychology, Vol. 1, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 240–242.Google Scholar
  47. Revenson, T. A., Schiaffino, K. M., Majerovitz, S. D., and Gibofsky, A. (1991). Social support as a double-edged sword: The relation of positive and problematic support to depression among rheumatoid arthritis patients. Soc. Sci. Med. 7: 807–813.Google Scholar
  48. Sandanger, I., Moum, T., Ingebrigtsen, G., Dalgard, O. S., Sorensen, T., and Bruusgaard, D. (1998). Concordance between symptom screening and diagnostic procedure: The Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview I. Soc. Psychiatry Psychiatr. Epidemiol. 33: 345–354.Google Scholar
  49. Sarason, B. R., Sarason, I. G., and Gurung, R. A. R. (2001). Close personal relationships and health outcomes: A key to the role of social support. In Sarason, B. R., and Duck, S. (Eds.), Personal Relationships: Implications for Clinical and Community Psychology, Wiley, Chichester, England, pp. 15–41.Google Scholar
  50. Schmaling, K. B., and Sher, T. G. (Eds.). (2000). The Psychology of Couples and Illness, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  51. Sears, S. R., Stanton, A. L., and Danoff-Burg, S. (2003). The Yellow Brick Road and the Emerald City: Benefit-finding, positive reappraisal coping, and posttraumatic growth in women with early-stage breast cancer. Health Psychol. 5: 487–497.Google Scholar
  52. Seligman, M. E. P., and Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist 55: 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shumaker, S., and Brownell, A. (1984). Toward a theory of social support: Closing conceptual gaps. J. Soc. Issues 40: 11–36.Google Scholar
  54. Siegel, K., and Schrimshaw, E. W. (2000). Perceiving benefits in adversity: Stress-related growth in women living with HIV/AIDS. Soc. Sci. Med. 51: 1543–1554.Google Scholar
  55. Smedstad, L. M., Kvien, T. K., Moum, T., and Vaglum, P. (1995). Life events, psychosocial factors, and demographic variables in early rheumatoid arthritis: Relations to one-year changes in functional disability. J. Rheumatol. 22: 2218–2225.Google Scholar
  56. Snyder, C. R., and Lopez, S. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of Positive Psychology, Oxford, New York.Google Scholar
  57. Stanton, A., and Revenson, T. A. (in press). Adaptation to chronic illness. In Friedman, H. S., and Silver, R. C. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  58. Stanton, A. L., Danoff-Burg, S., Sworowski, L. A., Collins, C. A., Branstetter, A., Rodriguez-Hanley, A., Kirk, S. B., and Austenfeld, J. A. (2002). Randomized, controlled trial of written emotional expression and benefit finding in breast cancer patients. J. Clin. Oncol. 20: 4160–4168.Google Scholar
  59. Tedeschi, R. G., and Calhoun, L. G. (1996). The posttraumatic growth inventory: Measuring the positive legacy of trauma. J. Trauma. Stress 9: 455–471.Google Scholar
  60. Tennen, H., and Affleck, G. (1999). Finding benefits in adversity. In Snyder, C. R. (Ed.), Coping: The Psychology of What Works, Oxford, New York, pp. 279–304.Google Scholar
  61. Tennen, H., and Affleck, G. (2002). Benefit-finding and benefit-reminding. In Snyder, C. R., and Lopez, S. (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology, Oxford, New York, pp. 584–597.Google Scholar
  62. Tennen, H., Affleck, G., Urrows, S., Higgins, P., and Mendola, R. (1992). Perceiving control, construing benefits, and daily processes in rheumatoid arthritis. Can. J. Behav. Sci. 24: 186–203.Google Scholar
  63. Zautra, A. J., Burleson, M. H., Matt, K. S., Roth, S., and Burrows, L. (1994). Interpersonal stress, depression, and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis patients. Health Psychol. 13: 139–148.Google Scholar
  64. Zautra, A. J., Smith, B., Affleck, G., and Tennen, H. (2001). Examinations of chronic pain and affect relationships: Applications of a dynamic model of affect. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 69: 785–796.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbany
  2. 2.Social-Personality Psychology, The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew York

Personalised recommendations