Social cognitive skills in socio-emotional and marital adjustment following the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer
AuthorPeters, Michael S.
AdvisorManusov, Valerie L.
Tusing, Kyle J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe main purpose of this study was to examine the role of specific social cognitive skills in psychosocial and relational adjustment to a chronic illness. The particular chronic illness investigated in this study was female breast cancer, and 30 married heterosexual couples facing the onset and treatment of breast cancer volunteered to be participants. The study was founded on the premise that chronic illness often presents as much of a social and relational challenge as it does a physical challenge. Based on this premise, the study's central argument was that persons equipped with relatively more sophisticated interpersonal communication skills would receive higher ratings of their communication functioning by their partners, express higher levels of marital satisfaction, and (in the case of wives) exhibit better psychosocial adjustment than would persons with less sophisticated communication skills. A significant association was revealed between participants' construct differentiation and message design logic. Contrary to predictions, no relationship was found between participants' social cognitive skills and partners' ratings of participants' communication functioning, or between participants' social cognitive skills and partners' assessments of global relationship satisfaction. A positive trend for wives and a significant positive association for husbands were found for the predicted relationship between participants' assessments of their partners' communication functioning and their own global relationship satisfaction. Partial support was provided for the predicted associations between wives' social cognitive skills and their own psychosocial adjustment to breast cancer, and between wives' social cognitive skills and their assessments of partners' communication functioning. Additional analyses revealed that wives' global relationship satisfaction was significantly associated with time since diagnosis and disease stage, whereas husbands' global relationship satisfaction was significantly associated with time since diagnosis only. Supplemental analyses also indicated several hypothesis-disconfirming negative associations between participants' social cognitive skills and participants' assessments of partners' communication functioning, global relationship satisfaction, and wives' psychosocial adjustment to breast cancer. These associations were found, however, only for couples wherein partners had highly discrepant construct differentiation scores. Despite providing only mixed support for the study's central argument, the study's results present several interesting findings that warrant further investigation. Intervention implications are also identified.
Degree ProgramGraduate College