Impact of marital coping on the relationship between body image and sexuality among breast cancer survivors

Support Care Cancer. 2015 Sep;23(9):2551-9. doi: 10.1007/s00520-015-2612-1. Epub 2015 Jan 24.


Purpose: The aims of the study were (1) to understand the relationship between women's marital coping efforts and body image as well as sexual relationships and (2) to test a hypothesized model suggesting that marital coping efforts have a mediating effect on the relationship between body image and sexual relationships among breast cancer survivors.

Methods: A total of 135 breast cancer survivors who had finished cancer treatment completed a self-reported questionnaire concerning body image, marital coping efforts, and sexual relationship.

Results: Body image, marital coping, and sexual relationship were found to be significantly correlated with each other. The final path model showed that negative marital coping efforts, including avoidance and self-blame, significantly mediated the effect of women's body image on their sexual relationships. Although a positive approach did not correlate with body image, it did significantly correlate with women's sexual relationships.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that negative marital coping using self-blame and avoidance mediated the association between body image and sexual relationship. Future interventions to address the body image and sexual life of breast cancer survivors should be considered using positive approaches that prevent disengaged avoidance or self-blame coping efforts intended to deal with marital stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Marriage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexuality / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors