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The purpose of this study was to investigate the experience of uncertainty in illness for couples in the post-treatment phase of a cancer diagnosis. More specifically, the study sought to determine if lower levels of cancer uncertainty could lead to higher satisfaction with life, lower depression, and lower anxiety for both members of the couple. The additional influence of coping skill usage and relationship satisfaction was also examined in the context of the couple relationship. Symbolic interactionism was the theoretical framework guiding this study. Data was collected through the Midwestern Site of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and their volunteer participant program called Cancer Fighters as well as through Facebook recruitment. Data analyses involved using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) as well as path analysis using AMOS (Arbukle, 2006) software to examine the hypotheses. Results indicated a direct relationship between partners uncertainty and depression, anxiety, and satisfaction with life. Survivors results indicated a direct relationship between their uncertainty and anxiety. Finally, a direct relationship was indicated from partner's uncertainty to survivor's depression and anxiety. These findings suggest that a partner's level of uncertainty during the survivorship stage can function as the most influential aspect of the adjustment to post-treatment life. Implications for researchers and practitioners are discussed.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Family and Child Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Wayne Denton, Professor Directing Dissertation; Mary Gerend, University Representative; Lenore McWey, Committee Member; Carol Darling, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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