Communal Behaviors and Psychological Adjustment of Family Caregivers and Persons With Spinal Cord Injury

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Abstract

Objective

Examined the influence of mutual communal behaviors on the adjustment reported by persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and their family caregivers. Previous research has found that persons who have a history of mutually communal behaviors in relationships may react differently to relationship changes after an acquired physical disability than dyads with few communal behaviors.

Method

Family caregivers and persons with SCI were administered measures of mutual communal behaviors, depression, and life satisfaction. Structural equation modeling was used to test the relations among caregivers' communal behaviors and care recipients' communal behaviors, depression, and life satisfaction.

Results

Caregiver and care recipient reports of communal behaviors were not significantly correlated. Significant paths indicated that care recipients' communal behavior scores were positively associated with their life satisfaction, and care recipients' depression was inversely associated with their life satisfaction. Caregivers' communal behavior scores were unrelated to their self-reported adjustment.

Conclusions

Caregiver–care recipient dyads may differ in their perceptions of communal behaviors in their relationships. Although care recipient reports of communal behavior may be related to their life satisfaction, communal behaviors may not serve a similar function among caregivers of persons with SCI.

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