Couples coping with chronic illness: Women with rheumatoid arthritis and their healthy husbands

Sharon L. Manne, Alex J. Zautra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Effects of a chronic disease, rheumatoid arthritis, upon the psychological adjustment of 103 women and their healthy husbands were examined. Husbands completed scales assessing perceived vulnerability to illness and coping efficacy, burden of caring for their wives, and level of psychological adjustment. Wives completed the Ways of Coping scale, rated attributions about arthritis, and rated criticalness and supportiveness of their husbands. Husbands were also interviewed and their responses coded for critical remarks about the wife. The same variables were used to predict each partner's adjustment in order to compare factors associated with each. Hierarchical regression indicated that negative marital interaction surrounding the wife's illness was a determinant of both partners' psychological adjustment. Apart from this variable, different factors predicted husbands' and wives' mental health. Husbands were most affected by their own perceived vulnerability to disease and coping inefficacy. Wives were most affected by pain severity and how they coped with arthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-342
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990


  • adjustment
  • arthritis
  • chronic illness
  • coping
  • spouses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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