Role Strains and Mood in Husbands of Women with Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Test of the Stress Process Model

Silvia M. Bigatti*, 1, Jennifer R. Lydon2, Brittany M. Brothers3
1 IUPUI, Department of Psychology, 402 North Blackford Street, LD 124, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
2 Robert L. Roudebush Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, Indianapolis, USA
3 The Ohio State University, OH, USA

© 2008 Bigatti et al;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the IUPUI, Department of Psychology, 402 North Blackford Street, LD 124, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tel: 317-274-6754; Fax: 317-274-6756; E-mail:


Spouses of patients experience role strains as a result of informal caregiving, which has been associated with mood in numerous research studies. However, most research is on female caregivers, and little is known about the experience of male spouses, or of the caregiving provided to fibromyalgia patients. The Stress Process Model was used to examine mediators and moderators of the relation between role strain and mood among 135 husbands of women with fibromyalgia. Results indicated that the more activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living performed by the husband, the greater the role strain. Role strain was associated with worse mood. A test of the Stress Process Model supported a partial mediation model, where social support and emotion-focused coping partially mediated the relation between role strain and mood. No evidence was found for a moderation model or for problem-focused coping as a mediator. Our research suggests significant impairment and caregiving needs among this patient population, which in turn relates to the mood of the husband who is also an informal caregiver. Our findings also support the Stress Process Model in explaining the complexity of caregiving effects. The results of the study suggest avenues for intervention for individuals strained by their partners’ illness.