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Intercultural couples' stress: impact of dyadic coping on relationship satisfaction

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Intercultural couples -partners from two different countries- may face increased levels of stress within their relationship (internal stress). Internal stress can negatively impact relationship satisfaction, whereas developing healthy ways to cope (dyadic coping; DC) can lower stress levels and improve

Intercultural couples -partners from two different countries- may face increased levels of stress within their relationship (internal stress). Internal stress can negatively impact relationship satisfaction, whereas developing healthy ways to cope (dyadic coping; DC) can lower stress levels and improve relationship satisfaction (e.g., Bodenmann, 2005). Specifically, it may be important for partners to perceive that their partner as supporting them during times of stress through engaging in DC. This study examined whether intercultural couples experience internal stress and what effects, if any, perceived partner engagement in DC had on their reported relationship satisfaction. Cross-sectional data was gathered from 85 couples and was analyzed using Actor-Partner Interdependence Models (APIMs; Kenny & Cook, 1999). Separate APIMs were conducted to examine the association between the independent variables (perceived partner engagement in: positive DC, negative DC, delegated DC, and supportive DC) and the outcome variables of internal stress and relationship satisfaction, while controlling for years each partner lived in their country of birth, average and differences on identification with individualism-collectivism values and behaviors, and if partners did or did not identify as the same race and/or ethnicity. Additionally, APIMs of internal stress on relationship as moderated by perceived partner positive and negative DC were conducted. Results showed significant associations of all independent variables on internal stress and relationship satisfaction. There were no signification interactions between internal stress and DC on relationship satisfaction. Implications for relationship researchers and mental health professionals working with intercultural couples are discussed.

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Date Created
2016

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Experimental evaluation of internet-based stress inoculation for adult children of divorce

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Descriptions of gray divorce often include consequences for young adult children who are increasingly being left to cope with their parents’ decision. Adult children of divorce may experience different stressors and reactions than younger children especially during holidays; moreover, their

Descriptions of gray divorce often include consequences for young adult children who are increasingly being left to cope with their parents’ decision. Adult children of divorce may experience different stressors and reactions than younger children especially during holidays; moreover, their increased social awareness leaves their parental relationship vulnerable to rupture as a result of pressure to choose sides. Interventions for helping young adults cope with their parents’ break-up are rarely described, much less evaluated. An online delivery format would be especially well-suited given the possibility of in-home participation at any time of day with privacy assured and negligible cost. We thus developed and experimentally evaluated Transitions, a two week internet-based program organized around a classic stress inoculation framework. The goals of Transitions are to foster stress-coping skills and to improve parent-child relationships throughout the divorce process. Our study was restricted to young adult college students (N = 95) who had experienced parental separation or divorce within the past year, and who were not receiving psychological services elsewhere. Participants were screened and randomly assigned to experimental and delayed-treatment control conditions; a priori analyses indicated sufficient power to detect large effects. During the first week of Transitions, participants received psychoeducation, training in progressive muscle relaxation, and a cognitive restructuring curriculum derived from Ellis and Beck. The second week began with a review and then introduced mindfulness meditation and communication skills. Practice sessions were embedded throughout the curriculum and simulations were specific to experiences of parental divorce. Videos of young college graduates sharing personal stories about their parents’ divorce were streamed between each module. Comprehension of the content presented in Transitions was monitored and coded for partial or full completion of the program. Outcome measures were keyed to the nature of the clinical problem and interventions deployed. A repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance (RM-MANOVA) yielded a significant interaction. Univariate follow-up ANOVAs showed significant improvement relative to controls on stress but not on relationship variables. Neither moderator nor intent-to-treat analyses altered this outcome pattern. Future research will focus on refining the stress reduction components of Transitions and improving its impact on relationships with parents.

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Date Created
2016

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Emerging adults and their helicopter parents: communication quality as mediator between affect and stress

Description

With the establishment of the emerging adult developmental period and the rise of helicopter parents, attachment theory provides foundation for conceptualizing the continued involvement of helicopter parents in their emerging adults’ emotion regulation processes. This study utilized dyadic data

With the establishment of the emerging adult developmental period and the rise of helicopter parents, attachment theory provides foundation for conceptualizing the continued involvement of helicopter parents in their emerging adults’ emotion regulation processes. This study utilized dyadic data from 66 emerging adult children and their helicopter parents to examine the association of helicopter parent-emerging adult communication in mitigating the associations between experiences of affect and stress. Specifically, the purpose of the present study was to use dyadic data to examine how communication within the helicopter parent-emerging adult relationship associates with emerging adults’ ability to regulate experiences of negative and positive affect. Both associations within the emerging adult and helicopter parent individually (actor effects) and how helicopter parents impact construct associations for emerging adults’ (partner effects) were considered.

Two multilevel mediation models using Actor-Partner Interdependence Models were conducted to assess the relations between affect, stress, and helicopter parent-emerging adult communication quality for negative and positive affect separately. The positive direct effect between negative affect and stress was statistically significant for emerging adults, but not for helicopter parents, suggesting that, for emerging adults, higher perceptions of negative affect were associated with higher levels of stress. The direct and indirect effects for the mediation model examining actor and partner effects between negative affect, communication quality, and stress were non-significant for both emerging adults and helicopter parents. The direct effect between positive affect and stress was statistically significant for helicopter parents but not for emerging adults; however, the directionality of the significant association was positive and not as hypothesized. Finally, the direct and indirect effects for the mediation model examining actor and partner effects between positive affect, communication quality, and stress were non-significant for emerging adults and helicopter parents. Considerations for future studies examining aspects of attachment within emotion regulation for the helicopter parent-emerging adult relationship and the importance of considering relationship characteristics, such the relational characteristics of social support and conflict, are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
2017

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Understanding the role of social support in the association between loneliness and well-being for STEM graduate students

Description

As women enter STEM fields they are often presented with chilly climates. The chilly climate refers to incidents of sexism, isolation, and pressure to prove themselves to peers and higher level academics (Callister, 2006; Hall & Sandler, 1982). For women

As women enter STEM fields they are often presented with chilly climates. The chilly climate refers to incidents of sexism, isolation, and pressure to prove themselves to peers and higher level academics (Callister, 2006; Hall & Sandler, 1982). For women of color, the status of being a double minority can intensify the psychological distress experienced by students (Joseph, 2012; Ong, 2011; Malcom, Hall, & Brown, 1976). For minority populations in STEM, loneliness is experienced due to lack of belonging and social isolation (Morris & Daniel, 2008; Walton & Cohen, 2007). This study sought to investigate whether social support could serve as a protective factor in the negative relationship between loneliness and psychological well-being (Cohen, 2004; Lawson, 2001; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) for those who hold a minority status. In addition, this study explored differences in the associations between loneliness, social support, and psychological well being and whether or not the moderation relationships were different for sub-groups based on gender or ethnic minority status. Cross-sectional data from 205 STEM graduate students was collected through an online study. A hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the buffering effects (Barron & Kenny, 1986) of global social support (total support from friends, family, and significant others) and family social support specifically. Model results suggested that global social support buffers the negative associations between loneliness and psychological well-being for less lonely minority participants in the study. Family social support buffered the associations of loneliness on psychological well-being for men with less loneliness. An unexpected finding in the present study revealed that for men and non –minority participants with high loneliness, psychological well-being decreased as family support increased. These results highlight the need for further research exploring through which mechanisms social support works as a buffer against loneliness in the sub-groups within STEM graduate student populations. The findings of this study could inform practices focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented STEM graduate students.

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Date Created
2017

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Couples’ Conflict Through an Attachment Lens: A Brief, Theory-Driven Writing Intervention

Description

Emerging adulthood represents a liminal space between adolescence and adulthood. Attachment with a romantic partner is commonly developed during this time; however, the nature of the dating relationship often remains ambiguous and/or undefined. Dating provides emerging adults the opportunity to

Emerging adulthood represents a liminal space between adolescence and adulthood. Attachment with a romantic partner is commonly developed during this time; however, the nature of the dating relationship often remains ambiguous and/or undefined. Dating provides emerging adults the opportunity to develop their romantic competence and navigate these particular attachment relationships. Conflict, and how it is managed, is a critical variable during this time and differentiates between couples who progress in their relationship from those who terminate. What is more, partners may become stuck in destructive cycles, or patterns, of conflict (i.e., demand-withdrawal). Using the theoretical frameworks of attachment theory and emotionally focused couples therapy, this study’s goal it to examine the impact of a brief writing-intervention on relational quality, secure attachment behaviors (i.e., accessibility, responsiveness, and engagement) and attachment dimensions (i.e., anxiety, avoidance). Sixty-seven participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions for a two-wave study: (1) a treatment condition that was provided an educational presentation regarding couples’ negative cycles of interaction and attachment needs, followed by a guided writing task; (2) a comparison condition that only received the educational presentation; and (3) a control condition that received neither the educational presentation nor the writing task. Hypotheses proposed that participants in the treatment condition would experience increased relational quality, secure attachment behaviors (for both themselves and their partner), and greater secure attachment (i.e., decreased anxiety and avoidance) across time compared to the comparison and control conditions. Data did not support the hypotheses. These findings offer important implications for the development of future brief couples’ interventions and aim to generate future research.

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Created

Date Created
2020

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Associations Between Perceived Discrimination and Relationship Quality among Asian and Pacific Islander Parent-Adult Child Dyads: Stress as a Mediator

Description

Experiences of perceived racial discrimination are all too common for Asian Americans living in the United States. While there is research demonstrating the negative impact of discrimination on individual well-being, there is a scarcity of literature addressing the potential associations

Experiences of perceived racial discrimination are all too common for Asian Americans living in the United States. While there is research demonstrating the negative impact of discrimination on individual well-being, there is a scarcity of literature addressing the potential associations between discrimination and family relationships outcomes, particularly the relationships between Asian American emerging adults and their parents. Drawing from family and stress theories, it was hypothesized that perceived discrimination, including blatant and subtle forms of discrimination, would be negatively associated with various aspects of relationship quality and that these associations would be mediated by general stress. The present study collected data from 137 Asian American parent-adult children dyads to examine the associations between discrimination, general stress, and parent-child relationship quality. Actor and partner associations were also tested in order to account for the interdependence of dyadic data. Results showed support for the negative direct association between discrimination and relationship quality for both children and parents, as well as the mediator role of stress. Findings from this study also have important implications for counseling to promote the mental health of Asian American emerging adults and families.

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Date Created
2021

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Female Microaggressions Scale (FeMS): A Comprehensive Sexism Scale

Description

Overt forms of sexism have become less frequent (Swim Hyers, Cohen & Ferguson, 2001; Sue & Capodilupo, 2008). Nonetheless, scholars contend that sexism is still pervasive but often manifests as female microaggressions, which have been defined as often subtle, covert

Overt forms of sexism have become less frequent (Swim Hyers, Cohen & Ferguson, 2001; Sue & Capodilupo, 2008). Nonetheless, scholars contend that sexism is still pervasive but often manifests as female microaggressions, which have been defined as often subtle, covert forms of gender discrimination (Capodilupo et al., 2010). Extant sexism scales fail to capture female microaggresions, limiting understanding of the correlates and consequences of women’s experiences of gender discrimination. Thus, the purpose of the current study was to develop the Female Microaggressions Scale (FeMS) based on an existing theoretical taxonomy and content analysis of social media data, which identifies diverse forms of sexism. Two separate studies were conducted for exploratory factor analysis (N = 582) and confirmatory factor analysis (N = 325). Exploratory factor analyses supported an eight-factor, correlated structure and confirmatory factor analyses supported a bifactor model, with eight specific factors and one general FeMS factor. Overall, reliability and validity of the FeMS (general FeMS and subscales) were mostly supported in the two present samples of diverse women. The FeMS’ subscales and body surveillance were significantly positively correlated. Results regarding correlations between the FeMS subscales and anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction were mixed. The FeMS (general FeMS) was significantly positively correlated with anxiety, body surveillance, and another measure of sexism but not depression or life satisfaction. Furthermore, the FeMS (general FeMS) explained variance in anxiety and body surveillance (but not depression, self-esteem, or life satisfaction) above and beyond that explained by an existing sexism measure and explained variance in anxiety and depression (but not self-esteem) above and beyond that explained by neuroticism. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2018

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Associations between dyadic coping and interaction quality: the mediating effect of couples' language use during real-time conversations

Description

Stress in romantic relationships is an all-too-common phenomenon that has detrimental effects on relationship well-being. Specifically, stress can increase partners’ negative interactions, ultimately decreasing effective communication and overall relationship functioning. Positive dyadic coping (DC) occurs when one partner assists the

Stress in romantic relationships is an all-too-common phenomenon that has detrimental effects on relationship well-being. Specifically, stress can increase partners’ negative interactions, ultimately decreasing effective communication and overall relationship functioning. Positive dyadic coping (DC) occurs when one partner assists the other in coping with stress (e.g. empathizing or helping the partner problem-solve solutions to their stress), and has been proposed as a method of buffering the deleterious effect of stress on interaction quality. One possible mechanism between the positive associations between DC and interaction quality could be how partners verbally express their support (e.g., more we-talk) during discussions about external stress. Using real-time interaction data from 40 heterosexual couples, this project examined whether observed positive and negative DC was associated with greater (or lesser) levels of perceived interaction quality. Further, language use (i.e., pronouns, emotion words, cognition words) was assessed as mediators in the associations between DC and interaction quality. Overall, results suggested that language did not mediate the effect of DC on interaction quality; however, there were several interesting links between DC, language, and interaction quality. Implications of these findings for relationship researchers and mental health clinicians working with couples are discussed.

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Agent

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Date Created
2017

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Examining the Influence of Attachment on the Association between Stress and Partner: Emotions among Same-Sex Couples

Description

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals are exposed to specific stressors due to their sexual minority status. One such stressor may result from the negative family reactions to one’s romantic partner. Encountering this stress may be especially harmful for

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals are exposed to specific stressors due to their sexual minority status. One such stressor may result from the negative family reactions to one’s romantic partner. Encountering this stress may be especially harmful for LGB individuals’ emotional well-being, as it could be considered a “double rejection”: that of their partner and possibly their own sexual orientation. The stress surrounding family members’ negative attitudes about their partner may affect how one feels about their partner. Furthermore, there may be individual differences that affect how an individual may perceive and respond to this stress. Specifically, one’s attachment style could either exacerbate (anxious) or weaken (avoidant) the experiences of stress, which may influence the emotions they feel about their partner. Using 14-day daily diary data from 81 same-sex couples, the purpose of this study was to examine whether there was an association between daily perceptions of stress via negative family reactions to partner and negative partner-related emotions, and whether attachment insecurity (anxiety and avoidance) moderated this association. Individuals’ perceptions of stress via negative family reactions was found to be positively associated with their reports of negative emotions about one’s partner. Anxious and avoidant attachment did not moderate the association between perceptions of stress and negative emotions due to one’s partner. The finding suggests this specific stressor on negative emotions due to partner may be an intrapersonal process, in which case couple therapists can increase clients’ awareness of this stress and how it impacts their feelings towards their romantic partner.

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Created

Date Created
2017

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Associations between openness, relationship satisfaction, and perceived partner unresponsiveness and topic avoidance: moderating effects of dogmatism for individuals in a romantic relationship

Description

Individuals in a romantic relationship may avoid discussing certain topics with their partner, often to avoid relational and emotional risk. This strategy is known as topic avoidance and may be an important factor for individuals in turbulent romantic relationship to

Individuals in a romantic relationship may avoid discussing certain topics with their partner, often to avoid relational and emotional risk. This strategy is known as topic avoidance and may be an important factor for individuals in turbulent romantic relationship to consider due to the importance of communicating with a partner. The associations between characteristics such as openness, relationship satisfaction, and perceived partner unresponsiveness, and topic avoidance have not been directly studied within dogmatism literature. However, dogmatism, defined as a person’s relative openness (or closedness) to new information, may be an important construct associated with topic avoidance that strengthens the associations between perceived partner unresponsiveness, and topic avoidance, and weakens the association between openness, relationship satisfaction, and topic avoidance. Using data from 334 individuals in romantic relationships, results revealed that perceived partner unresponsiveness was positively associated with State of the Relationship, relationship satisfaction was positively associated with Conflict-Inducing and Negative Life Experiences, such that as scores on relationship satisfaction and perceived partner unresponsiveness increased, topic avoidance scores also increased. Openness was not associated with Topic Avoidance. Additionally, as predicted, dogmatism moderated the association between relationship satisfaction and State of the Relationship Topic Avoidance, the associations between perceived partner unresponsiveness and State of the Relationship Topic Avoidance and Negative Life Experiences Topic Avoidance. This research has important implications for clinicians working with individuals who present with relational concerns

and exhibit dogmatic behavior. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2019