Social Issues: Marital Support

  • Louise Picard
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 151)

The cancer’s appearance awakens a shared anxiety about the possible ending of the conjugal relationship. For many couples, this anxiety leads to a re-evaluation of the depth of their attachment and commitment and of the importance of the other person in their life. The goal of this chapter is to present two dimensions crucial to the deepening of the intimate bond in cases where the female partner has breast cancer: the establishment of open, emotional communication and the development of exchanges based on mutuality. They will be commented on in terms of their contribution to marital well-being or marital distress. Implications for psychosocial intervention and research will be discussed.


Breast Cancer Conflict Resolution Intimate Relationship Female Partner Open Communication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Hilton BA. Issues, Problems, and Challenges for Families Coping with Breast Cancer. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. May 1993;9(2):88–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lethborg CE. It’s Not the Easy Part: The Experience of Significant Others of Women with Early Stage Breast Cancer, at Treatment Completion. Social Work in Health Care. 2003;37(1):63–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Manne S. Couples Coping with Cancer: Research Issues and Recent Findings. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings. 1994;1(4):317–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Picard L, Dumont S, Gagnon P, et al. Coping Strategies Among Couples Adjusting to Primary Breast Cancer. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology. 2005;23(2/3):115–35.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Manne SL, Ostroff J, Norton TR, et al. Cancer-Related Relationship Communication. Couples Coping with Early Stage Breast Cancer. Psycho-Oncology. 2006;15:234–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Manne S, Ostroff J, Rini C, et al. The Interpersonal Process Model of Intimacy: The role of self-disclosure, partner disclosure, and partner responsiveness in interactions between breast cancer patients and their partners. J Fam Psychol. 2004;18(4):589–99.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Feldman B, Broussard CA. The Influence of Relational Factors on Men’s Adjustment to Their Partners’ Newly-Diagnosed Breast Cancer. Journal of Psychosoc Oncol. 2005;23(2/3):23–43.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kayser K. Enhancing dyadic coping during a time of crisis: A theory-Based intervention with breast cancer patients and theirs partners. Revenson T, Kayser K, Bodenmann G, eds. Couples coping with stress: Emerging perspectives on dyadic coping. Washington: American Psychological Association, 2005:175–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Laurenceau J-P, Kleinman BM. Intimacy in Personal Relationships. Vangelisti and Perlaman, eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006:637–53.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Reis HT, Shaver P. Intimacy as an Interpersonal Process. Duck S, ed. Handbook of Personal relationships, Chichester, England: Wiley; 1988:367–89.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Manne S, Ostroff J, Sherman M, et al. Couples’ Support-Related Communication, Psychological Distress, and Relationship Satisfaction Among Women With Early Stage Breast Cancer. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2004;72(4):660–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Figueiredo M, Fries E, Ingram KM. The Role of Disclosure Patterns and Unsupportive Social Interactions. The Well-Being of Breast Cancer Patients. Psycho-Oncology. 2004;13:96–105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Spiegel D, Bloom JR, Gottheil E. Family Environment as a Predictor of Adjustment to Metastatic Breast Carcinoma. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology. Spring, 1983;1(1):33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Greene K, Derlega VJ, Mathews A. Self-Disclosure in Personal Relationships. Vangelisti and Perlman, eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2006:409–27.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mesters I, et al. Openness to Discuss Cancer in the Nuclear Family: Scale, Development, and Validation. American Psychosomatic Society. May/June, 1997;59(3):269–79.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Manne S, Dougherty J, Veach S, et al. Hiding Worries from One’s Spouse: Protective Buffering Among Cancer Patients and their Spouses. Cancer Research Therapy and Control. 1999;8:175–88.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Worthman CB, Dunkel-Schetter C. Interpersonal relationships and cancer: A theoretical analysis. Journal of Social Issues. 1979;35(1):120–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Sabo D, Brown J, Smith C. The Male Role and Mastectomy: Support Groups and Men’s Adjustment. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Spring/Summer 1986;4(1/2):19–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Giese-Davis J, Hermanson K, Koopman C, et al. Quality of Couples’ Relationship and Ajustment to Metastatic Breast Cancer. J Fam Psychol. 2000;14(2):251–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Holmberg S, Scott LL, William A, et al. Relationship Issues of Women With Breast Cancer. Cancer Nursing. 2001;24(1):53–60.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kline GH, Pleasant ND, Whitton SW, et al. Understanding Couple Conflict. Vangelisti and Perlman, editors. The Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006:445–62.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pasch LA, Bradbury TN. Social support, Conflict, and the Development of Marital Dysfunction. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1998;66(2):219–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Cutrona CE. Social Support in Couples. Marriage as a Resource in Times of Stress. Thousand Oaks. California: Sage Publications; 1996,150.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Neff LA, Karney BR. How does context affect intimate relationship? Linking external stress and cognitive processes within marriage. Pers Soc Psycho Bul. February 2004;30(2):134–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Dorval M, Guay S, Mondor M, et al. Couples who get closer after breast cancer: Frequency and predictors in a prospective investigation. J Clin Onco. May 2005;23(15):3588–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Genero NP, Miller JB, Surrey J, et al. Measuring perceived Mutuality in Close Relationships: Validation of the Mutual Psychological Development Questionnaire. J Fam Psychol. 1992;6(1):36–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Jordan JV. The meaning of mutuality. Jordan JV, Kaplan AG, Miller JB, et al. Women’s growth in connection: writings from Stone Center. New York: Guilford Press, 1991:81–96.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wimberley SR, Carver CS, Laurenceau J-P, et al. Perceived Partner Reactions to Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer: Impact on Psychosocial and Psychosexual Adjustment. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2005;73(2):300–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sormanti M, Kayser K. Partner support and changes in relationships during life-threatening illness: Women’s perspectives. J Psychosocl Oncol. 2000;18(3):45–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Skerrett K. Couple Dialogues with illness: Expanding the “We”. Families, Systems Health. 2003;21(1):69–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Cutrona CE, Russell DW. Type of social support and specific stress: Toward a theory of optimal matching. Sarason BR, Sarason IG, Pierce Gregory R, eds. Social Support: An Interactional View. New York: A Wiley-Interscience Publication, 1990:319–66.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Widmer K, Cina A, Charvoz L, et al. A Model Dyadi-Coping Intervention. Revenson T, Kayser K, Bodenmann G, eds. Couples coping with stress: Emerging perspectives on dyadic coping. Washington: American Psychological Association. 2005:159–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculté des sciences sociales, École de service social, Pavillon Charles-De-KoninckUniversité LavalQuébecCanada

Personalised recommendations