A couple-based dyadic coping intervention for couples coping with colorectal cancer: A pilot feasibility study

Published:October 11, 2022DOI:


      • A dyadic coping intervention was developed based on Systemic Transactional Model.
      • The intervention was feasible and acceptable in Chinese colorectal cancer couples.
      • The intervention improved couples' dyadic coping level and adaptation outcomes.
      • The intervention needs to be further refined based on participant suggestions.
      • Large-scale randomized controlled trials in different cultural contexts are needed.



      Compared to individual coping, dyadic coping has significant impact on cancer adaptation in cancer couples. Few intervention studies have focused on dyadic coping in colorectal cancer couples. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a Systemic Transactional Model-guided, couples-based dyadic coping intervention program for colorectal cancer couples.


      A pre-/post-test single-group pilot study was conducted among Chinese colorectal cancer couples. Couples received six intervention sessions delivered by researchers via face-to-face or telephone. Recruitment and retention rates were calculated to assess program feasibility. Quantitative and qualitative post-intervention program evaluation were evaluated to assess acceptability. Additionally, effect sizes were calculated using Dyadic Coping Inventory, Dyadic Adjustments Scale, Medical Outcomes Study 12-item Short-Form, Benefit-Finding Scale, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale to assess preliminary program efficacy.


      Of the 31 eligible couples approached, 21 dyads completed the baseline questionnaire, with 16 dyads completing the intervention and post-intervention assessments. Recruitment (67.7%) and retention (76.2%) rates supported the feasibility of the intervention program. Program acceptability was supported by participant satisfaction with the program. The intervention had small-to-medium effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.19–0.48) in improving dyadic coping and most cancer adaptation outcomes for both patients and their spousal caregivers, validating the preliminary efficacy of the program.


      The couples-based dyadic coping intervention is feasible, acceptable, and effective for improving dyadic coping levels and cancer adaptation in colorectal cancer couples. Further examination of this intervention program in a large-scale randomized controlled trial is required.


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