Effects of communication-debilitating illnesses and injuries on close relationships: a relational maintenance perspective

Health Commun. 2007;21(3):235-46. doi: 10.1080/10410230701307675.


A communication-debilitating illness or injury (CDI) presents significant challenges for patients as well as for friends and family. In a qualitative study of the effects of a CDI on close relationships, 28 individuals with loved ones who had experienced a CDI were interviewed. Participants described adjustments in communication with the patient and explained what it is like to experience a relationship with a CDI patient. Themes that emerged transcended the type of illness and relationship. Recommendations are made for further research that focuses on patients' relationships with a variety of social network members, beyond primary caregivers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication*
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Speech Intelligibility*
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology*