Marital satisfaction in couples with rheumatoid arthritis

Bonnie L. Bermas, Joan S. Tucker, Darlene K. Winkelman, Jeffrey N. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective. To understand correlates of marital satisfaction in persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and their spouses. Methods. In a cross-sectional survey, 79 persons with RA and 78 spouses completed the Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale, the revised Ways of Coping Questionnaire scales, and the Health Assessment Questionnaire. A series of linear regression analyses were then performed to investigate correlates of marital satisfaction for patients and spouses. Results. Seventy-six percent of patients were women. Mean patient age was 56.5 years (± 12.5 years), number of years married was 30.7 (± 13.5), and duration of RA was 14.2 years (± 9.0 years). Demographic features of spouses resembled those of patients. Patients and spouses were generally satisfied with their marriages. Linear regression analyses showed that lower marital satisfaction in patients was associated with higher education level (P < 0.01), patient's greater use of escape into fantasy (P < 0.01), patient's greater use of finding blame (P < 0.05), and spouse's higher use of escape into fantasy (P < 0.001). Spouses less satisfied with their marriages were more likely to use passive acceptance (P < 0.05) and less likely to find blame (P < 0.05). Female spouses were less likely to be satisfied in their marriages (P < 0.01) than male spouses. Conclusions. This study indicates that certain passive coping styles are associated with lower marital satisfaction in persons with RA and their spouses. More highly educated patients and female spouses are also less satisfied in their marriages. These cross-sectional correlations should not be regarded as causal and should be examined further in longitudinal studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Coping skills
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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