Emotional approach coping and depressive symptoms in colorectal cancer patients: The role of the intimate relationship

J Psychosoc Oncol. Sep-Oct 2017;35(5):578-596. doi: 10.1080/07347332.2017.1331492. Epub 2017 May 16.


This study examined whether emotional approach coping was associated with lower depressive symptoms, and whether intimacy moderated this association, in 121 married/partnered colorectal cancer (CRC) outpatients. Prospective analyses of survey data on emotional approach coping, depressive symptoms, and intimacy measured at baseline and 6-month follow-up showed that depressive symptoms were inversely related to processing, expression, and intimacy. At baseline, the association between processing and depressive symptoms was moderated by intimacy: greater processing was associated with lower depressive symptoms only for those in relatively high-intimacy relationships. Enhancing emotional approach coping efforts and relationship quality may benefit CRC patients' adjustment.

Keywords: colorectal cancer; coping; emotional approach; intimacy; relationship quality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires