The aims of this study were
(1) to explore the degree of concordance/discordance between the illness perceptions of patients with a chronic illness and those of their partners, and
(2) to examine the relationship between the concordance/discordance of couples’ illness perceptions and social support exchange processes.
In a cross-sectional study, 119 chronic patients and their partners completed questionnaires assessing their illness perceptions (IPQ-R) as well as the social support received by the patients and that provided by the partners (BSSS). The degree of concordance between the illness perceptions of patients and partners was assessed and related to received and provided social support. The concordance between patients’ and partners’ illness perceptions regarding the patient’s chronic illness was quite high. In general, in couples with negative-concordant illness perceptions, more social support was received and provided than in couples with positive-concordant illness perceptions and in couples with discordant illness perceptions. Most of the differences between groups were found for informational social support. Findings indicate that the concordance of illness perceptions between patients and their partners is related to social support exchange processes. This demonstrates the importance of the involvement of patients’ partners in the process of diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.

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Keywords chronic illness, illness perceptions, social support, couples, concordance, similarity
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Journal Zeitschrift für Gesundheitspsychologie
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Salewski, C., & Vollmann, M. (2014). Close relationship and chronic illness: The interrelations between illness perceptions and social support. Zeitschrift für Gesundheitspsychologie, 22, 175–184. doi:10.1026/0943-8149/a000127