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Patient recovery from life-altering surgery is a complex event requiring interactions among multiple factors that influence recovery. Two such factors are occupational stability and spouse/partner relationship stability.We surveyed persons who have undergone ostomy surgery. Subjects were recruited from the general population, without regard to geographic region or clinical setting. Participation in the study was voluntary; subjects had given prior permission to be contacted about survey-based research. Additional subjects were recruited from Web-based ostomy sites and local ostomy support group meetings.The survey instrument contains 113 items designed to investigate pre- and postsurgery aspects of the lives of those who have undergone ostomy surgery.Ostomates experiencing a postsurgery change in both occupation and work habits were significantly more likely to report a nonpositive life satisfaction score than those experiencing no postoperative change in occupation or work habit. Additionally, a stable spouse/life partner relationship emerged as predictive of positive life satisfaction scores. For those that were married prior to surgery and remained married after surgery, and in which there was no change in occupation or work habit, 95.7% reported a positive life satisfaction score.Multiple stabilizing forces exist that influence the recovery of a patient following life-altering surgery such as creation of a stoma. Stability in occupation and spouse/partner relationship positively influenced life satisfaction scores following ostomy surgery.