Spouse criticism and support: their association with coping and psychological adjustment among women with rheumatoid arthritis

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1989 Apr;56(4):608-17. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.56.4.608.


Examined whether psychological adjustment of women with rheumatoid arthritis would be related to the support and criticism the patient received from the husband. Interviews were conducted with the husbands of 103 women with rheumatoid arthritis. Spouse interviews were content coded for critical remarks. Wives completed a revised version of the Ways of Coping Scale and a scale of the perceived supportiveness of the spouse. Husbands completed rating scales assessing their perceived vulnerability to illness and the degree of burden they experienced in providing assistance to their wives. Path analyses revealed that patient adjustment was significantly related to the attitude of the spouse. Patients with a highly critical spouse engaged in more maladaptive coping behaviors and reported a poorer psychological adjustment. Independent of spousal criticism, patients who perceived their spouse as being supportive engaged in more adaptive coping. A path model was fit to the data that suggested that the spouse may affect adjustment indirectly through influencing the patient's selection of adaptive or maladaptive coping responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Marriage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support*