Cooperation or Tension? Dyadic Coping in Cystic Fibrosis

Shirli Werner*, Yael Hochman, Hadas Rosenne, Shifra Kurtz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Following a rise in the life expectancy of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, many adults with CF form couple relationships. Yet, dyadic coping has not been previously examined in people with CF. This study examined how adults with CF and their partners cope as a couple with the illness, and what meanings each partner and the couple as a unit attribute to the experience. Seventeen adult CF patients and their partners participated in separate semi-structured in-depth interviews. Two main patterns of dyadic coping with CF were identified as follows: cooperation and tension. For couples in cooperation, the marital relationship served as a resource for adaptive coping. These couples were characterized by similarities in their perception of the place of CF in their lives and of their roles in the marital relationship. Couples in tension described the couple relationship as strained by difficulty of accepting the disease, proliferation of negative emotions, and a sense of burden and loneliness in the process of coping. Findings point to the importance of mutual empathy, clear and accepted division of roles between the partners, and open communication for facilitating coping as a couple.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalFamily Process
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Family Process Institute


  • Couples
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dyadic coping
  • Partner support


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