Living with huntington’s disease: illness perceptions, coping mechanisms, and spouses’ quality of life

  • D. I. Helder
  • A. A. Kaptein
  • G. M. J. Van Kempen
  • J. Weinman
  • J. C. Van Houwelingen
  • R. A. C. Roos


Chronic illness not only affects the life of those suffering from Huntington’s disease but also threatens the quality of life (QOL) of their spouses. In this study, we focus on Huntington’s disease (HD). The impact of HDonthe QOL of spouses has been hardly studied from a behavioral medicine or health psychology perspective. We hypothesize that spouses’ illness perceptions and coping mechanisms will contribute significantly to the prediction of their QOL. Illness perceptions, coping mechanisms, and the QOL of 90 spouses ofpatients with HD were assessed by meansof the Illness Perception Questionnaire, the COPE, and the Medical Outcome Study 36-item Short Form Health Survey, respectively. After controlling for demographic and illness-related variables, coping mechanisms explained a significant amount of variance of spouses’ role functioning. Given our results, more empirical and longitudinal research is justified on coping mechanisms and illness perceptions of spouses living with Huntington’s disease.

Key words

illness perceptions coping QOL spouse caregiving Huntington’s disease 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. I. Helder
    • 1
  • A. A. Kaptein
    • 1
  • G. M. J. Van Kempen
    • 1
  • J. Weinman
    • 2
  • J. C. Van Houwelingen
    • 3
  • R. A. C. Roos
    • 4
  1. 1.Unit of Psychology, Department of PsychiatryLeiden University Medical CentreOegstgeestThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Unit of Psychology, Division of Psychiatry and PsychologyGuy’s, King’s, and St Thomas’ School of MedicineUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Department of Medical Statistics, LUMCThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Neurology, LUMCThe Netherlands

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