The Couples’ Illness Communication Scale (CICS): development and evaluation of a brief measure assessing illness-related couple communication

Arden-Close, Emily, Moss-Morris, Rona, Dennison, Laura, Bayne, Louise and Gidron, Yori (2010) The Couples’ Illness Communication Scale (CICS): development and evaluation of a brief measure assessing illness-related couple communication. British Journal of Health Psychology, 15, (3), 543-559. (doi:10.1348/135910709X476972). (PMID:19878621).


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Objectives. When one member of a couple has a chronic illness, communication about the illness is important for both patient and partner well-being. This study aimed to develop and test a brief self-report measure of illness-related couple communication.

Design. A combination of correlations and multiple regression were used to assess the internal consistency and validity of the Couples' Illness Communication Scale (CICS).

Methods. A scale to provide insight into both patient and partner illness communication was developed. The CICS was then tested on patients with ovarian cancer (N =123) and their partners (N =101), as well as patients with early stage multiple sclerosis (MS) who had stable partnerships (N =64).

Results. The CICS demonstrated good acceptability, internal consistency, convergent validity (correlations with general couple communication and marital adjustment), construct validity (correlations with intrusive thoughts, social/family well-being, emotional impact of the illness, and psychological distress), and test–retest reliability.

Conclusions. The CICS meets the majority of psychometric criteria for assessment measures in both a life-threatening illness (ovarian cancer) and a chronic progressive disease (MS). Further research is required to understand its suitability for use in other populations. Adoption of the CICS into couple-related research will improve understanding of the role of illness-related communication in adjustment to illness. Use of this short, simple tool in a clinical setting can provide a springboard for addressing difficulties with illness-related couple communication and could aid decision making for referrals to couple counselling.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1348/135910709X476972
ISSNs: 1359-107X (print)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology > Division of Human Wellbeing
ePrint ID: 68736
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
September 2010Published
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:54

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