Disclosures of Cystic Fibrosis–Related Information to Romantic Partners

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Abstract

In this article, we offer insights into how individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) share information about their disease with a romantic partner. Using communication privacy management as a sensitizing theoretical construct, four themes emerged following 13 qualitative interviews with persons with CF. Themes about sharing CF-related information with a romantic partner include weighing the risks and benefits of sharing information, the role of health-related triggered rules, the motivations for disclosures, and the reactions from outsiders. Implications of the research suggest a need for more nuanced understandings of how privacy rules are communicated in relationships, how the mismanagement of co-owned information influences future disclosures, how the public–private nature of rare genetic illnesses is managed, and how people with genetic illnesses make disclosure decisions.

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