Investigating married adults’ communal coping with genetic health risk and perceived discrimination

Rachel A. Smith, Alan Sillars, Ryan P. Chesnut, Xun Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Increased genetic testing in personalized medicine presents unique challenges for couples, including managing disease risk and potential discrimination a. couple. This study investigated couples’ conflicts and support gaps as they coped with perceived genetic discrimination. We also explored the degree to which communal coping was beneficial in reducing support gaps and ultimately stress. Dyadic analysis of married adults (. 266, 133 couples), in which one person had the genetic risk for serious illness, showed that perceived discrimination predicted more frequent conflicts about alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency-related treatment, privacy boundaries, and finances, which, in turn, predicted wider gaps in emotion and esteem support, and greater stress for both spouses. Communal coping predicted lower support gaps for both partners and marginally lower stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-202
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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