HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Helgeson VS, Naqvi JB, Seltman H, Vaughn AK, Korytkowski M, Hausmann LRM, Gary-Webb TL. Links of communal coping to relationship and psychological health in type 2 diabetes: actor-partner interdependence models involving role, sex, and race. Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 2019 Nov 26.
Communal coping is one person's appraisal of a stressor as shared and collaboration with a partner to manage the problem. There is a burgeoning literature demonstrating the link of communal coping to good relationships and health among persons with chronic disease.
We examined links of communal coping to relationship and psychological functioning among couples in which one person was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We distinguished effects of own communal coping from partner communal coping on both patient and spouse relationship and psychological functioning, as well as whether communal coping effects were moderated by role (patient, spouse), sex (male, female), and race (White, Black).
Participants were 200 couples in which one person had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (46% Black, 45% female) within the last 5 years. Couples completed an in-person interview, participated in a discussion to address diabetes-related problems, and completed a postdiscussion questionnaire.
Own communal coping and partner communal coping were related to good relationship and psychological functioning. Interactions with role, sex, and race suggested: (i) partner communal coping is more beneficial for patients than spouses; (ii) own communal coping is more beneficial for men, whereas partner communal coping is more beneficial for women; and (iii) White patients and Black spouses benefit more from own communal coping than Black patients and White spouses.
These findings demonstrate the benefits of communal coping across an array of self-report and observed indices, but suggest there are differential benefits across role, sex, and race.