arthritis, chronic illness, diabetes, coping and adaptation, marital issues


Using data from interviews with 28 older couples in which 1 spouse was diagnosed with diabetes and osteoarthritis, we examined illness perceptions and coping activities as they relate to illness management and relationship resilience. Qualitative analysis of interview transcripts revealed categories of data related to perceptions, coping, and cross category comparisons. Findings suggest that couples experience both negative and positive perceptions of their illnesses, indicating a balance between the reality of their illness challenges and an optimistic outlook of the future. Coping activities included a variety of tasks and were performed by individuals, by both spouses in a shared effort, and by individuals and shared couple efforts. Findings highlight the complexity of individual and shared couple illness perception and couple efforts in managing multiple-chronic illnesses.

Original Publication Citation

Yorgason, J.B., Roper, S.O., Wheeler, B., Crane, K., Byron, R., Carpenter, L., Sandberg, J.G., Sheffield, R. & Higley, D. (2010). Older couples’ management of multiple chronic illnesses: Individual and shared perceptions and coping in type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis. Families, Systems, and Health, 28(1), 30-47.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Families, Systems, & Health




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor