We present a theory of communal coping that describes an optimal pathway to patient adjustment among couples in which one person faces a chronic illness. Communal coping consists of a shared illness appraisal (i.e., person perceives illness as a joint rather than individual problem) and collaboration with a partner to manage the illness. We present a model of the communal coping process that links patient and partner shared illness appraisals to collaboration and a set of supportive interactions that might be reframed as collaboration in the presence of shared illness appraisals. We then outline a model that identifies potential antecedents of communal coping and mechanisms that link communal coping to patient illness adjustment (i.e., enhanced psychological well-being, improved health behaviors, better physical health) and partner psychological well-being. We review the empirical evidence for this model and conclude by identifying several moderator variables, noting potential limitations, and outlining future research directions.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||Personality and Social Psychology Review|
|State||Published - May 1 2018|
- close relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology