Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Human Development and Family Studies
Charles L. Cole
This study was designed to understand the relationship between spouse-caregiver attachment style and couple's communication on spouse-caregiver depression and marital satisfaction. Fifty-two couples participated in the study with one spouse having been diagnosed with either cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, or stroke. Attachment Theory and the Epigenetic Relational Model were used as the theoretical basis for this research. The Consensus Rorschach Task was used to examine couples' communication. Lag sequential analyses and sequence repetition analyses were conducted on observational data to determine the effects of spouse-caregiver attachment style and couple's communication on spouse-caregiver depression and marital satisfaction. The findings of this study suggest that more depressive symptoms are likely to be found among spouse-caregivers: who are female, who are anxiously attached, who encounter disagreement from their patient-spouses after attempting to engage them in a specific conversation, and who have patient-spouses with more signs of mild mental impairment. Higher marital satisfaction was reported among spouse-caregivers: who are securely attached, whose patient-spouse is not diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, who felt freer to disagree with their patient-spouses, and who have patient spouses capable of performing more personal self-maintenance tasks themselves. Possible implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Jennifer Lee Harkness
Harkness, Jennifer Lee, "Later-life marriage, chronic illness, and spouse-caregiver functioning " (1997). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 12205.