Several studies have shown that emotional competence (EC) impacts cancer adjustment via anxiety and depression symptoms. The objective was to test this model for the quality of life (QoL) of partners: first, the direct effect of partners’ EC on their QoL, anxiety and depression symptoms after cancer diagnosis (T1), after chemotherapy (T2) and after radiotherapy (T3); Second, the indirect effects of partners’ EC at T1 on their QoL at T2 and T3 through anxiety and depression symptoms.
192 partners of women with breast cancer completed a questionnaire at T1, T2 and T3 to assess their EC (PEC), anxiety and depression symptoms (HADS) and QoL (Partner-YW-BCI). Partial correlations and regression analyses were performed to test direct and indirect effects of EC on issues.
EC at T1 predicted fewer anxiety and depression symptoms at each time and all dimensions of QoL, except for career management and financial difficulties. EC showed different significant indirect effects (i.e. via anxiety or depression symptoms) on all sub-dimensions of QoL, except for financial difficulties, according to the step of care pathway (T2 and T3). Anxiety and depression played a different role in the psychological processes that influence QoL.
Findings confirm the importance of taking emotional processes into account in the adjustment of partners, especially regarding their QoL and the support they may provide to patients. It, thus, seems important to integrate EC in future health models and psychosocial interventions focused on partners or caregivers.