Couple-Oriented Education and Support Intervention for Osteoarthritis: Effects on Spouses' Support and Responses to Patient Pain

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a couple-oriented education and support intervention for osteoarthritis was more efficacious than a similar patient-oriented intervention in terms of enhancing spouses' support of patients and their positive and negative responses to patient pain. Repeated-measures analyses of covariance with the completers sample (N = 103 dyads) showed that at the postintervention assessment, patients in the couple-oriented intervention reported a greater decrease in their spouses' punishing responses (e.g., anger, irritation) than did patients in the patient-oriented intervention. In addition, a trend effect was observed in regard to the advantage of couple-oriented intervention for increasing spouses' attempts to distract patients from their pain. At the 6-month follow-up, patients in the couple-oriented intervention reported greater increased spouse support than those in the patient-oriented intervention. Findings illustrate the value of examining change in specific types of marital interactions targeted in a couples intervention, and the need to strengthen the impact of future couple-oriented interventions.

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