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Phd ceremony Ms. M. Dagan:The role of spousal supportive behaviors in couples’ adaptation to colorectal cancer

When:Mo 28-07-2014 12:00 - 13:00

The diagnosis of cancer begins a period of significant distress and adjustment for both patients and their partners. To cope better with the distress, both partners are expected to support each other. However, this is not always the case and sometimes even well-meant support may hamper adjustment. This thesis describes the role of interpersonal factors (i.e., past spousal support) and intrapersonal (e.g., personal control) in the association between spousal support and wellbeing of couples coping with colorectal cancer. The results suggest that overall people who perceived their partner to be supportive in the past, had a high sense of personal control and/or had a low need for emotional expression were less affected by their partners’ current behavior compared to people who perceived their partners not to be supportive in the past, had a low sense of personal control and/or had a high need for emotional expression. As more studies examine couples’ adjustment to cancer, the challenges of recruiting both members of the dyad to studies are becoming apparent. Hence, the second part of this thesis focuses on a common methodological issue; namely, couples recruitment to psycho-oncological studies. A systematic review was conducted to examine the average Couples Response Rates (CRR), systematically review the quality of reporting of couples’ response rate, and assess potential determinants of this rate in studies of couples coping with cancer. The results revealed incomplete reporting of response rate and potential determents of CRR. Recommendations and guidelines to improve reporting are provided.

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