A Feminist Perspective on Coping with Interpersonal Stress in Chronic Disease
Hoffman, Mary Ann
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The present study used a feminist framework to better understand how women with chronic disease cope with interpersonal, disease-related stressors. Specifically, it examined how gender-related stress, including traits (e.g., unmitigated communion) and relationship schemas (e.g., self-silencing) impact adjustment among women with Celiac Disease, and whether gendered coping processes, such as emotional approach coping, play a mediating or moderating role. Data was collected from 344 women with Celiac Disease through an online survey. Results demonstrate the importance of gender-related stress for psychological adjustment to CD among women. Findings suggest that although emotional approach coping may be a beneficial strategy when managing disease-related interpersonal stress, other forms of coping requiring interpersonal agency may be more important. Future research should investigate relationships between gender-related stress and problem-focused coping while considering the influence of disease-related factors such as time since diagnosis, symptom severity and symptom frequency.