Browsing by Author "Gustavsson-Lilius, Mila"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-1 of 1
  • Gustavsson-Lilius, Mila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Previous empirical research has shown that positive, i.e. salutogenic, psychological resources and social support, have health-promoting effects in stressful life situations. In the present study the associations between sense of coherence (SOC), dispositional optimism, partner support, psychological distress, and quality of life among cancer patients and their partners were examined. The data was collected from Helsinki University Central Hospital in 1997 2000 by self-report questionnaires approximately 2, 8, and 14 months post diagnosis. Participants in studies I-IV were 155, 123, 153, and 147 cancer patients and their partners, respectively. The sample of the present study consisted of physically relatively well-functioning patients, whose overall psychological wellbeing was generally good as compared to the healthy population. Partners in this study, however, reacted more strongly to their partners illness and treatment. The partners displayed e.g. higher levels of anxiety and depression than the patients. The results of this study indicated that cancer patients and their partners with strong SOC and who are optimistic report fewer symptoms of distress. Moreover, patients who display an optimistic attitude to life, who receive support from their partner, and who control how they express anger have a better quality of life. The findings also confirmed that the role of the partner is significant in coping with cancer. The symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients and partners were associated, and the partner s optimism seemed to protect also the patient from elevated levels of anxiety. The role of the partner was also highlighted in the couples anger-expression styles. The patients and partners tendency to inhibit anger was associated with decreased partner support and worse patient quality of life. Finally, in the present study we found substantial gender differences. For the patients, partner support was more significant for the women than for the men. Furthermore, for the female patients, the husband s tendency to openly express anger (anger-out) had a negative impact on their psychological quality of life, whereas the wives high anger-out seemed to predict good psychological quality of life in the men. Also, in this study the female partners reported higher levels of anxiety and depression as compared to the male partners. The results of the present study extend the previous literature on positive psychological resources and psychological wellbeing among cancer couples. Furthermore, these findings support the theory on SOC and optimism as health-promoting factors. However, the construct of SOC seems to include other important elements besides optimism. The findings of this study are applicable in designing new rehabilitation programmes for cancer patients and their partners.