Quality of life and coping strategies among lung transplant candidates and their family caregivers.
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Although numerous studies have examined coping strategies and quality of life (QOL) among patients with chronic diseases and their family caregivers, no studies have examined the reciprocal effects of patient and caregiver coping strategies on their dyad partner's QOL. Because most people who cope with stressful health experiences do so within the context of interpersonal relationships, it is important to understand the ways in which the two partners' coping strategies may reciprocally affect each other's QOL. Adult lung transplant candidates and their caregivers (N=114 pairs) participated in semi-structured interviews that included measures of QOL and coping with patients' health-related problems. Multivariate, canonical correlation analyses were performed to examine unique patterns of associations between coping and QOL in patient-caregiver dyads. Better patient QOL, across multiple domains, was associated with better caregiver QOL. Multiple elements of patients' coping, including greater use of active coping and emotionally oriented coping were related to generally poorer patient QOL in psychosocial and physical domains. Similarly, caregivers who used more emotionally oriented coping had poorer QOL. There was no statistically reliable relationship between either (a) patient and caregiver use of coping strategies, or (b) caregiver coping and patient QOL. However, patients' coping strategies were important correlates of caregivers' QOL. These findings belie common clinical beliefs that family members' coping responses to patients' health are likely to affect patient well-being. Instead, patients' coping and QOL may be critical for understanding caregiver well-being, especially in the current era in which caregivers are assuming increased responsibility for providing patient care.