Socioemotional selectivity and psychological health in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and caregivers: a longitudinal, dyadic analysis

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Abstract

Objective: Socioemotional selectivity theory predicts that as the end of life approaches, goals and resources that provide immediate, hedonic reward become more important than those that provide delayed rewards. This study tested whether these goal domains differentially affected psychological health in the context of marital dyads in which one partner had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a life-limiting disease. Design: ALS patients (N = 102) being treated in three multidisciplinary clinics and their spouses (N = 100) reported their loneliness, financial worry and psychological health every 3 months for up to 18 months. Main Outcome Measure: Psychological health composite. Results: In multilevel dyadic models, patients and spouses had similar levels of financial worry and loneliness. Both patients and spouses had worse psychological health with higher loneliness, but only spouses had worse psychological health with higher financial worry. Significant interactions with age and disease severity indicated that older spouses were more affected by loneliness than were younger spouses, and patients with less severe disease were more affected by financial worry than patients with more severe disease. Conclusion: The results provide good support for socioemotional selectivity theory’s implications for psychological health in a strong test of the theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1195
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology and Health
Volume34
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (K02-AG033629). The de-identified data from the Seattle ALS Patient Project were provided to Drs. Segerstrom and Kasarskis by Al Hillel, M.D., and Rhoda Walters, project investigators.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • ALS
  • Married couples
  • depression
  • loneliness
  • socioemotional selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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