The association between perceived inequity and psychological distress, relationship satisfaction and emotions among couples facing chronic illnesses (2004)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
The present study examined the issue of equity for couples where one partner was diagnosed with a chronic illness in a New Zealand sample. Forty couples with different illnesses (i.e. arthritis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis etc) participated in the study and partial support for equity theory was found. Firstly, in line with previous findings, patients in general felt overbenefited but contrary to previous findings, partners in general felt marginally underbenefited instead of equitably treated. In general, the results were in line with our predictions, that is, patients and partners felt the least distress, most relationship satisfaction (partners only), least guilt and anger when they felt equitably treated. Also, patients felt most distress, partners felt least satisfied with their relationship and both patients and partners felt angry when they perceived underbenefit, as expected. On the other hand, two unexpected results were found. Firstly, partners felt equally sensitive to under and overbenefit regarding psychological distress and secondly, both patients and partners experienced similar level of guilt whether they perceive under or overbenefit. Furthermore, the present study also examined whether these associations were moderated by causal, responsibility and/or illness attributions. It was found that for patients, causal attribution moderated the association of perceived equity with guilt and anger while responsibility attribution moderated the association of perceived equity with psychological distress and guilt. For partners, only causal attribution was found to moderate these associations (relationship satisfaction, guilt and anger).
KeywordsChronic diseases--Psychological aspects; Couples--Psychology; Social exchange; Distress (Psychology); Satisfaction; Emotions
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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