Integrating relational turbulence theory and the theory of resilience and relational load to investigate the relationships of couples with chronic illness

Kelly G. McAninch, Erin D. Basinger, Amy L. Delaney, Erin C. Wehrman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chronic illness is both prevalent in U.S. adults and influential in people’s lives and relationships. In this study, we integrate relational turbulence theory with the theory of resilience and relational load to consider associations between perceptions of the relationship, relational maintenance, and two global relationship qualities: resilience and relational load. Results from a cross-sectional online survey of 100 dyads in which at least one partner reported a chronic condition suggest relational turbulence was associated with relational maintenance, which, in turn, was associated with relational load and resilience. Relational maintenance emerged as a mediator in the association between relational turbulence and resilience and relational load in several tests. Communal orientation was positively associated with relational maintenance and indirectly related to resilience and relational load in certain circumstances. We discuss these findings for each theory individually, the value of considering these theories concurrently, and pragmatic advice for couples navigating chronic illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Quarterly
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Eastern Communication Association.

Keywords

  • Chronic illness
  • relational load
  • relational maintenance
  • relational turbulence
  • resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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