Understanding the role of open communication on couples’ relationship and psychological well-being during menopause : an examination of the mediating effects of communal coping with an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model
Menopause-related symptoms can affect the lives of both partners in couples, and the way in which partners perceive and respond to menopause-related issues is likely to affect both partners’ psychological and relational well-being. Adopting the concept of communal coping, this study investigated how open communication was associated with the relational and psychological well-being of couples through shared appraisal and joint action using Actor-Partner Interdependence Models. After collecting dyadic data from 47 heterosexual couples, this study found that communal coping can emerge in heterosexual couples during the menopausal transition of female partners. This study also showed that: (a) joint action could be negatively associated with the relational well-being of menopausal couples while shared appraisal was positively related with individuals’ well-being, (b) open communication can promote both communal coping and well-being in menopausal couples, and (c) communal coping can serve as a mediator between open communication and relational well-being. This study makes a substantial contribution to the field of research on couples in which the female partner had transitioned through menopause and broadens the application context of communal coping. In addition, it contributes to the discussion on communal coping by highlighting that at least one dimension of communal coping could have negative effects on the well-being of individuals. Detailed interpretation of this study’s results and analyses of future research directions are presented.