Interpersonal positive reframing in the daily lives of couples coping with breast cancer

Megan L. Robbins, Robert C. Wright, Ana Maria Lopez, Karen Weihs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study examined word use as an indicator of interpersonal positive reframing in daily conversations of couples coping with breast cancer and as a predictor of stress. Design: The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) and Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) were used to examine naturally occurring word use conceptually linked to positive reframing (positive emotion, negative emotion, and cognitive processing words). Sample: Fifty-two couples coping with breast cancer. Methods: Couples wore the EAR, a device participants wear, that audio-recorded over one weekend (>16,000 sound files), and completed self-reports of positive reframing (COPE) and stress (Perceived Stress Scale). LIWC, a software program, measured word use. Findings: Both partners’ word use (i.e., positive emotion and cognitive processing words) was associated with their own reported positive reframing, and spouses’ word use was also indicative of patients’ positive reframing. Results also revealed that, in general, words indicating positive reframing predicted lower levels of stress. Conclusions: Findings supported the hypothesis that partners—and particularly spouses of breast cancer patients—may assist each other’s coping by positively reframing the cancer experience and other negative experiences in conversation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-177
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019


  • electronically activated recorder (EAR)
  • linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC)
  • naturalistic observation
  • positive reframing
  • word use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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