Abstract The aim was to examine the impact of the dyadic, interaction and dissimilarity effects of the illness representations on the psychological health of recently diagnosed cancer patients and spouses in Greece. The sample consisted of 298 individuals nested in 149 couples. Effects were examined with the Actor–Partner Interdependence Model. Both actor (i.e., within person) and partner (i.e., between partners) effects were detected for both patients’ and spouses’ psychological symptoms. The negative association of patients’ psychological symptoms with their representations of illness coherence was weak at the higher and medium levels, and stronger at the lower levels of spouse corresponding representations. Patient–partner discrepancy in perceived illness consequences was associated with more psychological symptoms in patients. Adaptation to cancer is a dyadic process within the context of which patient and partner psychological well-being is affected by each other’s understanding of illness. Thus, the parallel examination of the illness representations of both partners is needed from the early phases of the illness trajectory.
Z. Giannousi, E. Karademas, Georgia Dimitraki
Journal of Behavioral Medicine