Keywords

CANCER, COMMUNICATION, DECISION-MAKING, SOCIAL SUPPORT, SPOUSAL INFLUENCE

Abstract

Marriage is consistently associated with better health outcomes. Spouses' attempts to influence partners' lifestyle and general health behaviors may contribute to this effect, although partners may not be aware of this influence. Spousal worry of a cancer diagnosis for an at-risk partner may factor into attempts to influence. An examination of spousal worry and influence on lifestyle choices, general health behaviors, and cancer screening adherence for partners at higher risk of colorectal cancer may shed light on spousal influence and partners' perceptions of influence. Methods: A mixed-method design assessed cancer worry and spousal influence for risk-reducing behavior in first-degree relatives of colorectal cancer patients following personalized genetic counseling. Couples discussed current and future ways to reduce risk. Results: Both the at-risk partner and the spouses had moderately high cancer worries. Spouses reported exerting influence for healthier behavior and cancer screening adherence but at-risk partners did not always recognize it. Qualitative data demonstrated partners' perceptions of spousal influence toward better health decisions, and against better health decisions. Conclusions: Future research should examine how and when spouses choose to exert influence, type of influence, what strategies they use, and to what effect.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2019-5

Publisher

American Journal of Health Behavior

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons

Share

COinS