Gender disparity in the rate of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness

Michael J. Glantz, Marc C. Chamberlain, Qin Liu, Chung Cheng Hsieh, Keith R. Edwards, Alixis Van Horn, Lawrence Recht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Life-threatening illness creates severe stress that may result in marital discord, separation, or divorce and may adversely impact treatment, quality of life, and survival. The few studies that are available to date have suggested that the risk of divorce is not higher in cancer patients, but to the authors' knowledge, no data exist to date that have examined the effect of gender on this rate. METHODS: A total of 515 patients were prospectively identified as having either a malignant primary brain tumor (N = 214), a solid tumor with no nervous system involvement (N = 193), or multiple sclerosis (N = 108) who were married at the time of diagnosis. Basic demographic information and data regarding marital status were compiled. Patients were followed prospectively from enrollment until death or study termination. RESULTS: Women composed 53% of the patient population. Divorce or separation occurred at a rate similar to that reported in the literature (11.6%). There was, however, a greater than 6-fold increase in risk after diagnosis when the affected spouse was the woman (20.8% vs 2.9%; P < .001). Female gender was found to be the strongest predictor of separation or divorce in each cohort. Marriage duration at the time of illness was also correlated with separation among brain tumor patients (P = .0001). Patients with brain tumors who were divorced or separated were more likely to be hospitalized, and less likely to participate in a clinical trial, receive multiple treatment regimens, complete cranial irradiation, or die at home (P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: Female gender was found to be a strong predictor of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. When divorce or separation occurred, quality of care and quality of life were adversely affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5237-5242
Number of pages6
JournalCancer
Volume115
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2009

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Refusal to Treat
Divorce
Brain Neoplasms
Quality of Life
Cranial Irradiation
Quality of Health Care
Marital Status
Marriage
Spouses
Nervous System
Multiple Sclerosis
Neoplasms
Demography
Clinical Trials
Survival

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Glantz, M. J., Chamberlain, M. C., Liu, Q., Hsieh, C. C., Edwards, K. R., Van Horn, A., & Recht, L. (2009). Gender disparity in the rate of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. Cancer, 115(22), 5237-5242. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.24577
Glantz, Michael J. ; Chamberlain, Marc C. ; Liu, Qin ; Hsieh, Chung Cheng ; Edwards, Keith R. ; Van Horn, Alixis ; Recht, Lawrence. / Gender disparity in the rate of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. In: Cancer. 2009 ; Vol. 115, No. 22. pp. 5237-5242.
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abstract = "BACKGROUND: Life-threatening illness creates severe stress that may result in marital discord, separation, or divorce and may adversely impact treatment, quality of life, and survival. The few studies that are available to date have suggested that the risk of divorce is not higher in cancer patients, but to the authors' knowledge, no data exist to date that have examined the effect of gender on this rate. METHODS: A total of 515 patients were prospectively identified as having either a malignant primary brain tumor (N = 214), a solid tumor with no nervous system involvement (N = 193), or multiple sclerosis (N = 108) who were married at the time of diagnosis. Basic demographic information and data regarding marital status were compiled. Patients were followed prospectively from enrollment until death or study termination. RESULTS: Women composed 53{\%} of the patient population. Divorce or separation occurred at a rate similar to that reported in the literature (11.6{\%}). There was, however, a greater than 6-fold increase in risk after diagnosis when the affected spouse was the woman (20.8{\%} vs 2.9{\%}; P < .001). Female gender was found to be the strongest predictor of separation or divorce in each cohort. Marriage duration at the time of illness was also correlated with separation among brain tumor patients (P = .0001). Patients with brain tumors who were divorced or separated were more likely to be hospitalized, and less likely to participate in a clinical trial, receive multiple treatment regimens, complete cranial irradiation, or die at home (P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: Female gender was found to be a strong predictor of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. When divorce or separation occurred, quality of care and quality of life were adversely affected.",
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Glantz, MJ, Chamberlain, MC, Liu, Q, Hsieh, CC, Edwards, KR, Van Horn, A & Recht, L 2009, 'Gender disparity in the rate of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness', Cancer, vol. 115, no. 22, pp. 5237-5242. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.24577

Gender disparity in the rate of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. / Glantz, Michael J.; Chamberlain, Marc C.; Liu, Qin; Hsieh, Chung Cheng; Edwards, Keith R.; Van Horn, Alixis; Recht, Lawrence.

In: Cancer, Vol. 115, No. 22, 15.11.2009, p. 5237-5242.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Glantz, Michael J.

AU - Chamberlain, Marc C.

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AU - Van Horn, Alixis

AU - Recht, Lawrence

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N2 - BACKGROUND: Life-threatening illness creates severe stress that may result in marital discord, separation, or divorce and may adversely impact treatment, quality of life, and survival. The few studies that are available to date have suggested that the risk of divorce is not higher in cancer patients, but to the authors' knowledge, no data exist to date that have examined the effect of gender on this rate. METHODS: A total of 515 patients were prospectively identified as having either a malignant primary brain tumor (N = 214), a solid tumor with no nervous system involvement (N = 193), or multiple sclerosis (N = 108) who were married at the time of diagnosis. Basic demographic information and data regarding marital status were compiled. Patients were followed prospectively from enrollment until death or study termination. RESULTS: Women composed 53% of the patient population. Divorce or separation occurred at a rate similar to that reported in the literature (11.6%). There was, however, a greater than 6-fold increase in risk after diagnosis when the affected spouse was the woman (20.8% vs 2.9%; P < .001). Female gender was found to be the strongest predictor of separation or divorce in each cohort. Marriage duration at the time of illness was also correlated with separation among brain tumor patients (P = .0001). Patients with brain tumors who were divorced or separated were more likely to be hospitalized, and less likely to participate in a clinical trial, receive multiple treatment regimens, complete cranial irradiation, or die at home (P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: Female gender was found to be a strong predictor of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. When divorce or separation occurred, quality of care and quality of life were adversely affected.

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Glantz MJ, Chamberlain MC, Liu Q, Hsieh CC, Edwards KR, Van Horn A et al. Gender disparity in the rate of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. Cancer. 2009 Nov 15;115(22):5237-5242. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.24577