Couples' coping and well-being when faced with hearing-, vision-, or dual-sensory loss
Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash
What is it about?
In this article, we analyzed the link between how adults with sensory loss and their spouses cope with sensory loss and their well-being over six months. Our results showed that many adults with sensory loss (32%) and spouses (24%) had poor well-being and this did not change over the six months. The most frequent coping styles used by adults with sensory loss were active coping (which included taking action, planning ahead, and focusing on the positive), support seeking (seeking emotional support and advice from others), humor, and distraction (trying not to think about it). The most frequently used coping styles by spouses were active coping, distraction, spiritual coping (turning to religious/spiritual beliefs for strength), and support seeking. As expected, active coping was the strongest predictor of healthy well-being among adults with sensory loss, meaning, those who reported that they typically cope with sensory loss-related difficulties by taking action to solve the problems, planning ahead, and focusing on the positive reported better well-being at time one and six months later. For spouses, those who reported that they typically seek emotional support or advice from others fared better psychologically, and spouses also did better if their partner with sensory loss reported that they typically seek support from others to cope with sensory loss-related challenges. In relation to couples who were not doing well psychologically, they were more likely to use avoidance, distraction, or venting to cope with sensory loss-related challenges. Overall, we demonstrated that spouses tend to have similar well-being and coping scores, in that, if one partner is not coping well with the sensory loss, it is also likely that their partner is struggling too. Based on our findings, we suggest that, where possible, spouses should be involved in the rehabilitation process beginning at the initial consultation and continuing through follow-up care.
Why is it important?
The results highlight the need to support the well-being of adults with sensory loss and their spouses in rehabilitation, and the importance of both partners' coping styles in the adjustment process.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Walter Wittich and Dr Christine M Lehane