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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews current theoretical frameworks on dyadic coping processes among couples coping with the stresses of chronic illness. These frameworks are set in their historical context to illustrate how they emerged from individual stress and coping models. The empirical literature on couples coping with chronic illness, in particular cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, is reviewed to examine which models have been supported and to identify gaps for future research. Using a social contextual framework, the chapter examines how partners experience unique stresses as a result of living with a chronically ill person, how psychosocial adaptation is shaped by the complex interplay of personality and relationship characteristics, and how sociocultural characteristics, such as gender, affect dyadic coping processes. The chapter addresses current methods in dyadic coping and the translation of research into clinical practice.

Keywords:  coping, dyadic coping, couples, illness, marriage, social support, cancer, arthritis, relationship-focused coping, protective buffering

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