Partners play a crucial role in patients’ adaptation to a chronic illness, yet very little is known about the impact of partners’ representations on rheumatic patients’ coping behaviors. The aim of the present cross-sectional study was to examine the relation of partners’ representations of control/cure, consequences and emotional representations to patients’ coping behaviors through patients’ representations, and to assess the impact of the potential interactions between patients’ and partners’ representations. The study was conducted at the Rheumatology Clinic, University of Crete Hospital in Heraklion, Greece. One hundred three heterosexual patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and their spouses (patients’ mean age = 53.87 years; SD = 9.6; partners’ mean age = 51.23; SD = 7.2; 91.3% women) participated in the study. All of them completed the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire. Patients’ behaviors were assessed with the Coping with Health Injuries and Problems Scale. Structural Equation Modeling and mediation analysis were conducted. Partners’ illness representations were only indirectly related to patients’ coping behaviors through patients’ representations (χ2 = 20.39, df = 16, p < 0.05). Furthermore, the negative relation of patients’ representations of personal control to palliative coping was stronger when partners perceived the rheumatic disease as less controllable (b = −0.07, t(82) = −2.36, p < 0.05). The findings emphasize the importance of partners’ representations for patients’ coping process and provide support to the need for partners to participate in relevant interventions.
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