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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Sara J. Knight, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This book, part of a series on close personal relationships, offers a critical review of literature on relationships and chronic illness. Its focus is contemporary research and theory, but it includes practical applications. The authors first develop a framework to understand the dynamic processes of interpersonal relationships during a chronic and disabling illness. Later chapters consider factors influencing the impact of illness an relationships and of relationships on coping with illness. A chapter on psychosocial interventions considers the practical applications of the authors' model.
Purpose: The authors aim to bring together quantitative and qualitative studies across disciplines to develop and support a conceptual model of relationships and illness. They give a general view rather than organize the work around specific illnesses or types of relationships. Although they include practical applications, the book emphasizes scholarly discussion. The authors are credible researchers in interpersonal relationships and health. They accomplish their objectives: this work stands out as a needed integration of the literature.
Audience: The target audience includes students and researchers in psychology, sociology, communications, and social work. The book offers concise consideration of theoretical and methodologic issues in the study of relationships and illness that will provide excellent supporting material for proposals and grants.
Features: Case examples and excerpts from focus groups highlight principles. Several tables and figures illustrate the text. Summary tables of research would strengthen the work. The table of contents and indexes are clear. The reference list is comprehensive.
Assessment: This is a carefully constructed integration of a complex, multidisciplinary literature on the dynamic processes of relationships during long-term illness. It is essentially a scholarly work that builds a conceptual model. The authors' use of case illustrations serves to ground and clarify the discussion. It is logical and clear. Both beginning and established scholars will find the book a highly useful resource.