Partner support and psychosexual adjustment to breast cancer

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver - Committee Chair


The social support literature suggests that the support offered by a partner plays a key role in a woman's emotional adjustment to breast cancer. However, little is known about the influence of partner behaviors on women's sexual adjustment to the disease. This study used hierarchical linear modeling to examine the prospective relationship between levels of several types of partner support (i.e. instrumental, informational, emotional, negative) and psychosexual adjustment (i.e. sexual disruption, relationship satisfaction) over the course of 12 months post-surgery in a sample of breast cancer patients. This sample consists of 130 women with stage 0, I, II, and III breast cancer. Findings indicate that emotional support from a partner is associated with less sexual disruption and greater relationship satisfaction among breast cancer patients throughout the year post-surgery. Additionally, informational support from a partner is related to greater relationship satisfaction and less sexual disruption. Furthermore, instrumental support is related to greater relationship satisfaction throughout the year and negative partner support is related to less relationship satisfaction at baseline. These findings suggest that a supportive partner can influence women's long-term psychosexual adjustment to breast cancer.


Psychology, Clinical

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