Partner social constraints and early-stage breast cancer: Longitudinal associations with psychosexual adjustment

Emily C. Soriano, Amy K. Otto, Scott D. Siegel, Jean Philippe Laurenceau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Women with breast cancer (BC) who perceive social constraints on their disclosure of cancer-related concerns are more likely to experience distress and have difficulty adjusting after diagnosis. Much of the existing research on psychosocial adjustment is cross-sectional in nature and an important area of concern that has received little attention is psychosexual adjustment to cancer surgery and treatment. This study examined whether perceived partner social constraints were associated with psychosexual adjustment over time in 108 BC survivors. Early-stage BC patients completed measures of partner social constraints, psychosexual adjustment, and relationship dissatisfaction approximately 1 month, 8 months, and 4 years after initial surgery. Latent growth curve modeling revealed partner social constraints to be a significant time-varying, within-person predictor of psychosexual adjustment at each time point after controlling for relationship dissatisfaction. BC surgery type, reconstructive surgery, cancer stage, chemotherapy, or antihormonal adjuvant treatment did not moderate this effect. Findings point to a long-term link between social constraints and psychosexual outcomes in BC patients and clinical implications for women coping with BC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-583
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was generously supported by National Institutes of Health/ National Cancer Institute Grants CA142234 and CA136080 and a grant from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. We thank Lauren J. Pigeon for her administrative support as well as all of the couples who participated in this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Psychological Association.


  • Breast cancer
  • Psychosexual adjustment
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Sexual functioning
  • Social constraints


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