Relationship problems are the most frequent problems identified by clients of clinical psychologists and other mental health practitioners. At the same time, partner relationships are one of the strongest sources of support for couples facing major and minor life stress. While there have been recent advances in knowledge and research in the area of interpersonal communication among couples, many questions remain about the processes of couples coping with stress, the effects of stress on the relationship (as well as the individual's well-being), and therapeutic means to aid couples' coping.

Couples Coping With Stress: Emerging Perspectives on Dyadic Coping presents an in-depth look at recent theoretical perspectives and original research on how couples cope with stress, including acute and chronic stress, stresses within and outside of the family, and stress caused by physical and mental illnesses.

In the volume's chapters, leading researchers and clinicians from North America and Western Europe present their theoretical frameworks and the formative research that tests them. Most importantly, the authors translate their findings into practice principles, many of which are innovative therapeutic programs. Dyadic coping, the interplay between the stress signals of one partner and the coping reaction of the other, is introduced as an additional resource that adds to each partner's coping ability and becomes a new direction for marital therapy to move in.

This book offers a new and exciting conceptualization of dyadic processes and introduces a challenging set of new questions that will guide future research in the field.

Table of Contents




Introduction (PDF, 156KB)
—Tracey A. Revenson, Karen Kayser, and Guy Bodenmann

I. The Role of Stress in Dyadic Coping Processes

  1. Marriages in Context: Interactions Between Chronic and Acute Stress Among Newlyweds
    —Benjamin R. Karney, Lisa B. Story, and Thomas N. Bradbury
  2. Dyadic Coping and Its Significance for Marital Functioning
    —Guy Bodenmann
  3. A Contextual Examination of Stress and Coping Processes in Stepfamilies
    —Melody Preece and Anita DeLongis

II. Social Support, Dyadic Coping, and Interpersonal Communication

  1. The Relationship Enhancement Model of Social Support
    —Carolyn E. Cutrona, Daniel W. Russell, and Kelli A. Gardner
  2. How Partners Talk in Times of Stress: A Process Analysis Approach
    —Nancy Pistrang and Chris Barker
  3. My Illness or Our Illness? Attending to the Relationship When One Partner is Ill
    —Linda K. Acitelli and Hoda J. Badr
  4. Couples Coping With Chronic Illness: What's Gender Got to Do with It?
    —Tracey A. Revenson, Ana F. Abraído-Lanza, S. Deborah Majerovitz, and Caren Jordan

III. Interventions to Enhance Dyadic Coping

  1. A Model Dyadic Coping Intervention
    —Kathrin Widmer, Annette Cina, Linda Charvoz, Shachi Shantinath, and Guy Bodenmann
  2. Enhancing Dyadic Coping During a Time of Crisis: An Intervention With Breast Cancer Patients and Their Partners
    —Karen Kayser

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Editor Bios

Tracey A. Revenson, PhD, is a professor of psychology at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She is the coauthor of Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis (1996) and A Piaget Primer: How a Child Thinks (1996) and the coeditor of the Handbook of Health Psychology (2001), A Quarter Century of Community Psychology (2002), and Ecological Research to Promote Social Change (2002). She was the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Women's Health: Research on Gender, Behavior and Policy. Dr. Revenson is well-known for her research on stress and coping processes among individuals, couples, and families facing chronic physical illness and the influence of interpersonal relationships on health. She was awarded a Senior International Fellowship from the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health to study cross-cultural issues in coping with chronic illness. She is the current president of Division 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.

Karen Kayser, PhD, is a professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College. She received her MSW degree and her PhD in social work and psychology from the University of Michigan and completed a National Institute on Child Health and Human Development postdoctoral fellowship in the area of families coping with childhood cancer at the University of Michigan. She has published books and articles in the areas of marital disaffection, stress and coping, intervention research, and couples therapy. Dr. Kayser has received grants from the American Cancer Society and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Breast Cancer Research Program for her research on women and cancer. She has written and lectured extensively on couples coping with breast cancer and recently has completed a clinical research study of an innovative couples psychosocial intervention at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Guy Bodenmann, PhD, is an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and the director of the Institute for Family Research and Counseling. He studied at the University of Berne and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland as well as the University of Washington, Seattle. His main research topics are stress and coping in couples, the prediction of marital decline and divorce, prevention of marital distress, marital therapy, and depression in marriage. He is a cognitive–behavioral therapist who specializes in the field of marital therapy. He developed the Couple's Coping Enhancement Training, a marital distress prevention program based on stress and coping research in close relationships.

Reviews & Awards
This theoretically and empirically rich volume makes a major contribution to the literature on "dyadic coping." Highly recommended.
—CHOICE Magazine