Interdependent anxiety and psychological distress in women with breast cancer and their partners

Chris Segrin, Terry Badger, Sybilla M. Dorros, Paula Meek, Ana Maria Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of interdependence on anxiety within dyads where one person was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Perceptions of relationship quality were expected to mitigate the anxiety experienced by both members of the dyad. 96 dyads participated in a 3-wave longitudinal study that took place over 10 weeks. Dyads were composed of a woman with stage I-III breast cancer who was currently undergoing treatment, and a partner who she nominated to participate in the study along with her. Results indicated that anxiety felt by women with breast cancer was consistently associated with that of her partner. Structural equation analyses suggest that the within-dyad influence runs mostly from partners' anxiety to the anxiety of women with breast cancer. Partners' anxiety was also associated with other indicators of the women's well being including depression, fatigue, and symptom management. Perceptions of relationship quality from women with breast cancer and their partners were negatively associated with partners' anxiety. However, women's anxiety was only correlated with their partners', but not their own, perceptions of relationship quality. These findings underscore the benefit of having partners who are able to cope with or get help for their own personal distress as women cope with the stress of breast cancer and its treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-643
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Breat cancer
  • Cancer
  • Interdependent anxiety
  • Partners
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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