Holding back, intimacy, and psychological and relationship outcomes among couples coping with prostate cancer

Sharon L Manne, David Kissane, Talia I Zaider, Deborah A Kashy, David I Lee, Carolyn J Heckman, Shannon B Myers

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53 Citations (Scopus)


The present study evaluated intimacy as a mechanism for the effects of holding back sharing concerns about cancer on couples' psychological distress, well-being, and marital satisfaction using the actor-partner interdependence model (APIM), and evaluated 2 possible moderators of these associations: the number of patient and spouse cancer concerns. We had 139 men treated for localized prostate cancer in the past year and their spouses complete surveys about holding back sharing cancer concerns, intimacy, distress, and relationship satisfaction, as well as patient and spouse cancer concerns. APIM-indicated that the association between holding back sharing concerns, and patient and spouse distress, well-being, and relationship satisfaction could be partially accounted for by their influence on patient and spouse perceptions of relationship intimacy. The number of cancer concerns did not moderate the mediational model. Holding back has strong associations with both partners' well-being and distress. Holding back sharing concerns was particularly detrimental for couples' intimacy and relationship satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708 - 719
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Couple communication
  • Holding back
  • Prostate cancer
  • Relationship intimacy

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