Depression and marital satisfaction: the mediating role of sexual satisfaction and perceived partner acceptance in women after mastectomy
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Institute of Psychology, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Submission date: 2018-11-24
Final revision date: 2019-03-04
Acceptance date: 2019-03-04
Online publication date: 2019-04-08
Publication date: 2019-04-08
Health Psychology Report 2019;7(2):121-132
Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer disrupts women’s functioning on both individual and dyadic levels. The main objective of the present study was to examine whether the partner’s acceptance of the woman and her sexual satisfaction can play a key role in mediating the relationship between depression and marital satis-faction in women treated for breast cancer after mastectomy.

Participants and procedure:
The sample consisted of 97 women with breast cancer after mastectomy (mean age = 55.68 years). The partic-ipants completed the following self-reported assessments: Beck’s Depression Inventory, Scale of Assessment of Self-Attractiveness in the Relationship by Chybicka and Karasiewicz and the Good Marriage Questionnaire KDM-2 by Plopa and Rostowski. All women were married (89.70%) or in informal relationships (10.30%). Re-cruitment for the study was conducted among women from the Amazonki community.

The time since the first diagnosis and the commencement of surgical treatment was a negative predictor (β = –.36, p < .001) of marital satisfaction in women with breast cancer after mastectomy, whereas acceptance by the partner was a significant positive predictor (β = .30, p = .023); the mediation analyses showed that acceptance by the partner fully mediated the relationship between depression and marital satisfaction. Sexual satisfaction can also be considered as a significant total mediator between depression and marital satisfaction in women with breast cancer after mastectomy.

The results highlight the importance of the analysed variables for marital satisfaction of women with breast cancer and can serve as a helpful guide for clinicians and other health professionals. One of the more im-portant findings concerned the importance of acceptance by the partner as a direct predictor of marital satisfac-tion. The research also showed that the women’s conviction about their partners’ acceptance and their sexual satisfaction renders their depression impactless in terms of marital satisfaction.

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