[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Working from the perspective of interdependence theory and models of relationship maintenance, this study examined the functional role of missing a romantic partner during a brief geographic separation. Eighty-eight undergraduate students involved in romantic relationships completed a measure of commitment prior to separation, and measures of missing a romantic partner, relationship maintenance, and physical infidelity during their winter break. Commitment was associated with participants’ self-reports of missing their romantic partners. Further, commitment predicted participants’ use of relationship maintenance strategies (i.e., positivity, openness, and assurances) and physical infidelity during the separation. These associations were mediated by how much participants missed their romantic partners. Findings are discussed in terms of interdependence theory and the growing literature on geographic distance between relationship partners.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 08/2011; 28(5):653-667. · 1.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Participant sex and a theorized correlate of biological sex, relational interdependence, were tested as relative predictors of the extent to which daters 1) missed and 2) used emotional support to cope when geographically separated from their dating partners. One hundred twenty-four daters completed multiple measures of missing and coping during their colleges' winter breaks. Results from regression analyses indicated that levels of missing and seeking emotional support differed as a function of biological sex. Further, relational interdependence was reliably associated with missing and seeking emotional support in theoretically consistent ways. Mediation analyses highlighted the importance of considering relational interdependence or other individual differences that covary with biological sex when studying close relationship phenomena.
The Journal of Social Psychology 01/2011; 151(6):710-26. · 0.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the effects of social support role (i.e., recipient versus provider) and experimentally manipulated closeness on men's and women's cortisol responses during an acute stress paradigm.
We manipulated psychological closeness (high versus low) between 50 same-sex stranger pairs and subsequently randomly assigned individuals to either prepare a speech (i.e., support recipient) or provide support to the speech presenter (i.e., support provider).
When receiving support, cortisol responses of men in the high closeness condition increased over time relative to a) men in the low closeness condition and b) women in the high closeness condition. Cortisol responses of female support recipients did not differ as a function of condition. For support providers, whereas both men's and women's cortisol declined throughout the procedure, the decline for men was steeper than the decline for women.
With few exceptions, psychological closeness, sex, and social support role interacted in theoretically consistent ways and each significantly contributed to the pattern of cortisol responses observed in men and women during a standardized acute stress paradigm. This work expands the growing literature on potential mechanisms underlying the social support-health link. Further, the employed methodology highlights the utility of borrowing established paradigms from the close relationships literature to help illuminate specific interpersonal characteristics that might affect social support dynamics in naturally existing relationships and at the same time control for extraneous variables.
Psychosomatic Medicine 09/2009; 71(8):843-51. · 4.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assessed the impact of an individual difference variable, relationship-focused thinking, on women's acute salivary cortisol responses during and after a guided imagery task. Specifically, 29 healthy women, all of whom were experiencing high levels of passionate love, but varied on levels of relationship-focused thinking, were assigned to one of two experimental conditions: a partner reflection condition or a cross-sex friend reflection condition. Results indicated that women experiencing passionate love evidenced increased cortisol levels when asked to reflect on their romantic partner and relationship relative to women asked to reflect on a cross-sex friendship, but this difference was particularly pronounced and relatively long-lasting for those women characterized by a high amount of relationship-focused thinking. Our study significantly expands extant work on the passionate love–cortisol link by isolating the impact of a specific psychological variable, relationship-focused thinking, on the physiological experience of falling in love. We believe our work highlights the advances that can be made when established work in the close relationships and neuroendocrine fields are integrated.