Nickola C Overall

Nickola C Overall
University of Auckland · School of Psychology

PhD

About

168
Publications
114,501
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Introduction
The aim of my research is to determine how people can maintain healthy relationships. I investigate the factors associated with resilience versus dissatisfaction within diagnostic contexts, such as situations involving conflict, support and dependence. I identify the dyadic processes that shape the course of relationships, and test how important factors, such as attachment insecurity, depressive symptoms and sexist attitudes, modify these processes.

Publications

Publications (168)
Article
Full-text available
Do people use ideal standards to evaluate and regulate their best friends? The current research examines whether the Ideal Standards Model captures dynamics in friendships, and what role attachment orientations play in these dynamics. Greater discrepancies between perceptions of best friends and ideal standards (low ideal-perception consistency) on...
Article
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Social pressures to adhere to traditional feminine roles may place some women at risk of experiencing gender role discrepancy strain, when they behave, think, or feel in ways discrepant from feminine gender role expectations. The current research examines how person-level propensity to experience feminine gender-role discrepancy strain-feminine gen...
Article
Interpersonal power involves how much actors can influence partners (actor power) and how much partners can influence actors (partner power). Yet, most theories and investigations of power conflate the effects of actor and partner power, creating a fundamental ambiguity in the literature regarding how power shapes social behavior. We demonstrate th...
Article
Have the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic risked declines in parents’ health and family functioning, or have most parents been resilient and shown no changes in health and family functioning? Assessing average risk versus resilience requires examining how families have fared across the pandemic, beyond the initial months examined in prior investiga...
Article
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The current study examines changes in the economic, social, and well-being life events that women and men reported during the first 7 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analyses compared monthly averages in cross-sectional national probability data from two annual waves of the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study collected between October 2018–Sept...
Article
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Despite being a defining issue in the culture war, the political psychology of abortion attitudes remains poorly understood. We address this oversight by reviewing existing literature and integrating new analyses of several large‐scale, cross‐sectional, and longitudinal datasets to identify the demographic and ideological correlates of abortion att...
Article
Close relationships are crucial to health and well-being. However, anxious expectations of rejection (attachment anxiety) and avoidant beliefs that romantic partners cannot be trusted (attachment avoidance) undermine long-term relationship functioning and well-being. In this Review, we outline how romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance create ha...
Article
Current and recent relationship evaluations offer important information about the strength and stability of relationships. The diagnostic value of relationship evaluations should motivate people to accurately recall recent changes in relationship quality (tracking accuracy) but may also increase sensitivity to times of low relationship quality (dir...
Article
Pfund and Hill (2022) suggest that individual resilience factors such as agreeableness and conscientiousness are likely to promote better relationship functioning as couples navigate the pandemic. Although we agree that more fully incorporating individual resilience factors would strengthen our adapted vulnerability-stress-adaptation (VSA) model, n...
Article
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The current research tests the links between emotion regulation and psychological and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Study 1, parents (N = 365) who had reported on their psychological and physical health prior to the pandemic completed the same health assessments along with their use of emotion regulation strategies when confined...
Article
Perceived stress undermines emotional wellbeing, and poorer emotional wellbeing may intensify perceived stress. The current studies examined whether biased memories contribute to the possible reciprocal links between perceived stress and depressive symptoms. Two longitudinal studies compared the stress people perceived for several weeks (Study 1, N...
Preprint
Full-text available
Are parents and families struggling with the ongoing demands of the pandemic, or are parents resilient and adjusted to the ‘new normal’? Assessing average risk versus resilience requires examining how parents and families have fared across the pandemic, beyond the initial months examined in prior investigations. The current research examines averag...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing demands on parents that may amplify the risk of parents' distress and poor parenting. Leveraging a prepandemic study in New Zealand, the current research tested whether parents' psychological distress during a mandated lockdown predicts relative residual changes in poorer parenting and whether partner support and co...
Article
Intimate relationships are a principal source of emotional support, which fosters recipients' health and well-being. Yet, being in a position to provide support can be stressful, particularly if people are burdened with their own emotional difficulties, and such stress may interfere with people's ability to behave in emotionally supportive ways. Th...
Article
The broad isolation, separation and loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic raises risks for couples’ relationship quality and stability. Guided by the vulnerability-stress-adaptation (VSA) model, we suggest that how pandemic-related loss, isolation, and separation impacts couples’ relationships will vary depending on the amount and severity of p...
Article
Guided by projection bias perspectives, this article sought to advance understanding of the associations between body image and relationship and sexual satisfaction within heterosexual romantic relationships. Across two studies, both members of heterosexual dating and/or married couples reported on their body image, perceptions of partner’s attract...
Article
Full-text available
The current research applied a dyadic perspective to examine conflict-coparenting spillover by examining (1) whether actors’ or partners’ hostility during couples’ conflict discussions predicted greater hostility in a subsequent play activity with their child, and (2) whether these actor and partner effects were moderated by two factors that prior...
Article
Full-text available
The centrality of attractiveness to social evaluations of women puts women at particular risk of body dissatisfaction. However, it is less clear who these social standards most affect and the situations in which they are most salient. Women whose self-esteem is more contingent on standards of attractiveness (ACSE) should be particularly vulnerable...
Article
In the current research, we apply a dyadic perspective of expressive suppression (ES) to test whether ES represents a weak link, such that either actors' or partners' ES is sufficient to undermine relationship satisfaction. Our primary aim was to test this weak-link pattern by modeling Actor × Partner ES interactions on relationship satisfaction. T...
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People low in self-esteem are likely more vulnerable to the wellbeing costs of relationship dissolution. Yet, several methodological limitations may mean that prior studies have overestimated such vulnerability. Overcoming prior limitations, we apply propensity score matching (PSM) to compare the later wellbeing of matched samples who experienced a...
Article
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Guided by theory emphasizing that partner responsiveness underlies well-functioning romantic relationships, we examined whether partners’ responsive behavior buffered the degree to which a personal vulnerability (depressive symptoms) and external stress predicted declines in relationship adjustment. Using an existing data set, we tested whether ind...
Article
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The current research examined whether men's hostile sexism was a risk factor for family-based aggression during a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in which families were confined to the home for 5 weeks. Parents who had reported on their sexist attitudes and aggressive behavior toward intimate partners and children prior to the COVID-19 pandemic comple...
Article
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COVID-19 lockdowns have required many working parents to balance domestic and paid labor while confined at home. Are women and men equally sharing the workload? Are inequities in the division of labor compromising relationships? Leveraging a pre-pandemic longitudinal study of couples with young children, we examine gender differences in the divisio...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic presents acute, ongoing relationship challenges. The current research tested how (1) preexisting vulnerabilities assessed prior to the pandemic (attachment insecurity) and (2) stress as couples endured a mandated quarantine predicted residual changes in relationship functioning. Controlling for prequarantine problems, relation...
Article
Full-text available
The current study explores associations among sexism, gender, and support for two approaches to reduce men’s violence toward women targeting (a) men’s behavior to reduce male violence toward women and (b) women’s behavior so that they can avoid male violence. The associations between sexism and support for these two interventions were examined in 2...
Chapter
This chapter explains gender differences in intimate violence, from pushing a partner to homicide. It then discusses many factors explaining the massive variability of violence in intimate relationships, both within and across cultures, in the context of different theoretical approaches. The three dominant theories that deal with relationship viole...
Chapter
This chapter reviews evidence for the evolutionary thesis that romantic love is a commitment device to keep parents together long enough to help infants survive to reproductive age. The power and sweetness of romantic love, and its centrality in human affairs, lend it an air of mystery that people suspect is behind the common view that it is hard t...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the way in which humans rear children (often in the context of pair‐bonding and broader family networks), which was probably a major factor in the evolution of the special qualities of Homo sapiens. It explains that intimate relationships can really be understood only within the context of human nature itself. Because intimat...
Chapter
This chapter examines the central role of the family – including moms, dads, and grandparents – on the selection of romantic partners and functioning of romantic relationships. There is a lot of similarity between love in close platonic friendships with family members or friends and romantic relationships. Both kinds of love are rooted in trust, ca...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on how romantic relationships can impact physical health at different stages of life (and vice‐versa), and touches on mental health outcomes at times. It begins by discussing the ways in which certain interpersonal experiences early in life (such as parental divorce) increase the likelihood of developing health problems later i...
Chapter
This chapter first introduces attachment theory, which is an evolutionary theory of human social behavior “from the cradle to the grave”. It discusses how and why attachment theory originated and some of its basic principles. Attachment theory applies to everybody throughout life from birth to death. The theory has two main components: a normative...
Chapter
This chapter examines the research that has investigated the kind of mind‐reading exemplified in the example from Annie Hall, along with the personality and many other judgments people make of their partners at every stage of the relationship. The “love is blind” thesis, taken to extremes, undercuts a key assumption in evolutionary psychology. More...
Preprint
The current research examined whether men’s hostile sexism was a risk factor for family-based aggression during a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in which families were confined to the home for 5 weeks. Parents who had reported on their sexist attitudes and aggressive behavior toward intimate partners and children prior to the COVID-19 pandemic comple...
Article
Full-text available
The current study examined whether couples’ relationship problems negatively influenced perceptions of partners’ parenting and, in turn, undermined family functioning. Couples (N � 96) completed assessments of relationship problems and family chaos before participating in a family play activity with their 4- to 5-year-old child. Parents reported on...
Article
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Interdependence and attachment models have identified felt security as a critical foundation for commitment by orientating individuals towards relationship-promotion rather than self-protection. However, partners’ security also signals the relative safety to commit to relationships. The current investigation adopted a dyadic perspective to examine...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic poses considerable challenges that threaten health and well-being. Initial data supports that many people experienced elevated psychological distress as the pandemic emerged. Yet, prior examinations of average changes in well-being fail to identify who is at greater risk for poor psychological health. The aim of the current re...
Preprint
Full-text available
We leverage powerful time-series data from a national longitudinal sample measured before the COVID-19 pandemic and during the world's eighth most stringent COVID-19 lockdown (New Zealand, March-April 2020, N = 940) and apply Bayesian multilevel mediation models to rigorously test five theories of pandemic distress. Findings: (1) during lockdown, r...
Article
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Relatively little is known about the differential impact of maternal and paternal perceptions of vaccine safety on children's vaccination status in New Zealand. Using a sample of 68 couples from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS), the present study investigated the distinct influence of mothers' and fathers' confidence in the safety...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing considerable demands on parents that amplify the risk of poor parenting. Leveraging an ongoing longitudinal study, the current study tests whether parents’ distress during a mandated lockdown predicts residual changes in poorer parenting and identifies within-family support processes that buffer these harmful effect...
Preprint
Full-text available
COVID-19 lockdowns have required many working parents to balance domestic and paid labour while confined at home. Are women and men equally sharing the workload? Are inequities in the division of labour compromising relationships? Leveraging a pre-pandemic longitudinal study of couples with young children, we examine gender differences in the divis...
Article
Full-text available
Suppressing the expression of negative emotions tends to undermine individuals' and their partners' wellbeing. However, sometimes expressive suppression may be relatively innocuous given that individuals commonly withhold negative emotions in order to maintain close relationships, and this may be especially the case when expressive suppression is e...
Article
Given the powerful implications of relationship quality for health and well-being, a central mission of relationship science is explaining why some romantic relationships thrive more than others. This large-scale project used machine learning (i.e., Random Forests) to 1) quantify the extent to which relationship quality is predictable and 2) identi...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic presents acute, ongoing relationship challenges. The current research tested how (1) pre-existing vulnerabilities assessed prior to the pandemic (attachment insecurity) and (2) stress as couples endured a mandated quarantine predicted residual changes in relationship functioning. Controlling for pre-quarantine problems, relati...
Article
Full-text available
Following the March 15th Christchurch terrorist attack, members of our research team have been repeatedly asked to comment or provide summary statistics from the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) on prejudice toward Muslims. As the curators of the NZAVS, we think that these findings should be in the public domain and accessible to as w...
Article
The coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic has profoundly altered people's daily lives and created multiple societal challenges. One important challenge of this unique stressor is maintaining well-functioning intimate relationships, which are inextricably tied to emotional and physical health. Yet research on romantic relationships shows that external...
Chapter
Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships - edited by Laura V. Machia June 2020
Article
Cambridge Core - Social Psychology - Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships - edited by Laura V. Machia
Article
Growing evidence indicates that whether critical and hostile behavior harms relationships depends on how partners respond. The current studies test a key behavioral indicator of partners’ responsiveness by examining whether partners’ withdrawal when actors exhibit negative-direct behavior predicts within-person and longitudinal declines in perceive...
Article
Full-text available
The contagiousness and deadliness of COVID-19 have necessitated drastic social management to halt transmission. The immediate effects of a nationwide lockdown were investigated by comparing matched samples of New Zealanders assessed before (Npre-lockdown = 1,003) and during the first 18 days of lockdown (Nlockdown = 1,003). Two categories of outcom...
Preprint
The contagiousness and deadliness of COVID-19 have necessitated drastic social management to halt transmission. The immediate effects of a nationwide lockdown were investigated by comparing matched samples of New Zealanders assessed before (Npre-lockdown = 1,003) and during the first 18 days of lockdown (Nlockdown = 1,003). Two categories of outcom...
Article
Lower power during marital interactions predicts greater aggression by men, but no research has identified women's response to lower power. We tested whether women who experienced lower situational power during conflict exhibited greater submission, especially if they held traditional gender role beliefs and thus accepted structural gender differen...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research suggests that men are most likely to respond to low power in intimate relationships with greater aggression toward their partners. The primary explanation offered for men’s aggressive responses to low relationship power is that low power can threaten men’s masculine identity, and aggression helps to demonstrate power and reclaim a...
Article
Eastwick, Finkel, and Simpson (2018) advanced recommendations for "best practices" in testing the predictive validity of individual differences in the extent to which perceptions of partners match ideal standards (ideal-partner matching). We respond to their article evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different tests, presenting new analyses...
Article
Full-text available
Hostile sexism expresses derogation of women’s competence and emphasizes that women will exploit men’s relational dependence. Men who endorse hostile sexism perceive their female partners more negatively, but do these negative perceptions stem from motives for dominance or insecurities about dependence? We tested both perspectives by assessing bias...
Article
Full-text available
Ambivalent sexism theory recognizes that sexist attitudes maintain gender inequalities via sociocultural and close relationship processes. This review advances established work on sociocultural processes by showing how people's need for relationship security is also central to the sources and functions of sexism. Men's hostile sexism—overtly deroga...
Article
Full-text available
Based on growing evidence that negative-direct behavior that addresses important contextual and situational demands is less harmful than negative-direct behavior that occurs irrespective of current demands, the current investigation tests whether the longitudinal impact of partners' negative-direct behavior depends on whether that behavior is more...
Article
Infant attachment is theorized to lay the foundation of emotion regulation across the life span. However, testing this proposition requires prospective designs examining whether attachment assessed in infancy predicts emotion regulation strategies observed in adult relationships. Using unique data from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and A...
Article
This research examined links between attachment orientations and evaluations of potential and existing relationship partners with respect to ideal standards. In Study 1, attachment anxiety and avoidance predicted the tradeoffs individuals made when choosing between potential mates. In Studies 2 and 3, attachment anxiety and avoidance were associate...
Article
The interpersonal consequences associated with emotional suppression (ES) may indicate that perceivers accurately detect targets' use of ES. However, ES involves hiding emotional experiences and expressions and consequently provides few explicit cues for perceivers. Thus, perceivers may exhibit relatively poor accuracy in detecting targets' ES and...
Article
Full-text available
Partners' negative emotions communicate social information necessary for individuals to respond appropriately to important relational events. Yet, there is inconsistent evidence regarding whether partners' emotional expression enhances accurate perceptions of partners' emotions. The current studies make methodological and theoretical extensions to...
Article
This chapter examines the predictors of relationship dissolution and divorce primarily within Western cultures, for the simple reason that most of the relevant research has been carried out in such countries. On the other side of the coin, it also discusses what pulls couples together and helps maintain long‐term relationships. The chapter then tur...
Article
This chapter explores the nature of interpersonal attraction and mate selection. The topics concern what men and women around the world look for in a mate and the thorny question of why humans adopt the standards they do. The chapter then discusses both the nature of within‐gender differences and across‐gender differences in mating strategies, and...
Article
This chapter reveals some key gender differences in sexuality, which are remarkably consistent with what is known about mate selection and mating strategies and the sex hormones. Men have stronger sex drives than women and are prone to keeping the sexual component (of love) separated from commitment and intimacy to a greater extent than are women....
Article
This chapter reviews and integrates five themes that tie together different parts of the relationship elephant. It deals with two interconnected general themes initially that embody two key threads running through the book – the power of culture and evolution and their linkages, and the way that pair‐bonding and romantic love help explain the evolu...
Article
This chapter explores the nature of the intimate relationship mind, the origins and causes of relationship cognition, and the role of emotions and feelings. It shows that the human (intimate) relationship mind is a remarkable instrument, honed by evolution and culture to meet pre‐ordained goals. The intimate relationship mind can be usefully split...
Article
One stream of research, supporting a materialist approach, is concerned with what is termed embodied cognition. The central axiom of this research domain posits that bodily and perceptual processes and cognition work to influence one another within an integrated biological system. If a materialist approach is worth its salt, then scientific work on...
Article
George and Mary's styles of communication seem like oil and water when put together. Their different approaches to conflict reflect two competing theoretical explanations postulated by scientists as the best way of communicating when experiencing relationship problems: the honest communication model versus the good management model. This chapter ev...
Article
Greater habitual emotional suppression (ES)-assessed by the suppression subscale of the emotion regulation questionnaire (ERQ-ES; Gross & John, 2003) and the Courtauld emotion control scale (CECS; Watson & Greer, 1983)-is associated with a range of negative outcomes, which are assumed to arise because habitual ES measures capture the tendency to us...
Article
Extant research suggests that having a romantic partner has more benefits, in terms of higher subjective wellbeing, for men compared to women. The primary theoretical explanation for these wellbeing differences is that men's romantic partners tend to be their primary source of perceived social support. Yet, there is surprisingly little empirical ev...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most prevalent form of IPV and is often thought to precede physical IPV. However, psychological IPV often occurs independently of other forms of IPV, and it can often emerge during routine relationship interactions. Using data from imprisoned male offenders we investigate the effect of hostile an...
Chapter
Full-text available
Power in Close Relationships - edited by Christopher R. Agnew February 2019