Objective: To review the state of research on the association between marital distress and disease progression. Methods: The PubMed Central, Wiley Interscience, Sciencedirect, Biomed central and Springer-link were searched to identify studies published between January 1984 and October 2012 on disease progression. Articles meeting the following criteria were selected for review: 1) study subjects were spouses, 2) the article was published within the past 28 years in a peer-reviewed journal, and 3) the research included at least one of the following outcomes-marital distress or disease progression. Articles were different on time span, the number of surveys, and the definition of disease. Results: Out of 72 screened articles, 18 met our criteria. Research demonstrates that marital distress and disease progression appear to have bidirectional influence on each other. Conclusion: Marital distress has a significant effect on disease progression. This article summarizes what is known about the association of marital distress on disease progression among spouses with disease. The authors speculate that associations between marital distress and disease progression will motivate policy makers in developing countries to allocate more resources towards spousal service.
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