Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1445–1454 | Cite as

Associations between dyadic coping and supportive care needs: findings from a study with hematologic cancer patients and their partners

  • Gregor Weißflog
  • Klaus Hönig
  • Harald Gündel
  • Dirk Lang
  • Dietger Niederwieser
  • Hartmut Döhner
  • Martin Vogelhuber
  • Anja Mehnert
  • Jochen Ernst
Original Article



The way couples mutually cope with hematologic cancer is likely to influence their levels of supportive care needs (SCN). Therefore, this study evaluated the levels of dyadic coping (DC) and SCN and the concurrent associations between both variables.


Three hundred thirty patients with a hematologic malignancy (63% male) and their partners completed the dyadic coping inventory (DCI) and the supportive care needs survey (SCNS-SF-34-G). The levels of dyadic coping (DC) and supportive care needs (SCN) were compared with representative validation samples. Correlational analyses and actor-partner interdependence models (APIM) were calculated to estimate the association between DC and SCN.


Partners’ stress communication of cancer patients (as part of DC) was decreased in contrast to that of a non-cancer sample. The perception of partners’ delegated DC was higher (both with a moderate effect size of g ≥ |0.50|). SCN of patients and partners were lower in the dimensions health system/information and physical problems/daily living in contrast to those of a cancer patients’ validation sample (both with a small effect of g ≥ |0.20|). Higher perceptions of partners’ negative DC were associated with higher SCN for both patients and partners. The same was true for patients’ own stress communication and SCN, but only for the patients. Sociodemographic and illness-related factors were only partially related with the SCN of patients and partners.


In order to diminish SCN of patients and partners, a possible way is to strengthen the quality of the dyadic relation. Due to its associations with elevated SCN, stress communication and negative dyadic coping behaviours may be useful targets for psychosocial interventions.


Cancer Oncology Dyadic coping Supportive care needs Couples 



We would like to thank all the couples for their participation in the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.

Source of funding

This work was supported by a grant from the Deutsche José Carreras Leukämie-Stiftung (grant no. DJCLS R 12/36).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregor Weißflog
    • 1
  • Klaus Hönig
    • 2
    • 3
  • Harald Gündel
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dirk Lang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dietger Niederwieser
    • 4
  • Hartmut Döhner
    • 3
    • 5
  • Martin Vogelhuber
    • 6
  • Anja Mehnert
    • 1
  • Jochen Ernst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Psychology and Medical SociologyUniversity Medical Center LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and PsychotherapyUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  3. 3.Comprehensive Cancer Center Ulm (CCCU)UlmGermany
  4. 4.Division of Hematology and OncologyUniversity Hospital of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  5. 5.Department of Internal Medicine IIIUniversity Hospital of UlmUlmGermany
  6. 6.Department of Internal Medicine IIIUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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