Expressions of support between partners may be more commonplace than heroic, but their cumulative effects on the growth of trust, enduring love, and commitment can be considerable--even lifesaving in the face of otherwise overwhelming tragedy. Skillfully weaving together the latest research with engaging case examples and practical applications, author Carolyn E. Cutrona offers an in-depth analysis of how committed partners can serve as resources for each other in stressful scenarios. Beginning with a fresh overview of definitions and concepts, Social Support in Couples articulates the vital components of intimate support systems. This informative volume explores the phenomenon of marital communication through real-life interactions, focusing on gender-related differences, the interplay between supportive and destructive interactions, and stress experienced during chronic/disabling illness. In a concluding chapter, a research agenda for future study opens the topic up to additional serious consideration. A reader-friendly examination of the power of supportive acts, Social Support in Couples is recommended for a wide readership, including academics, practitioners, and students in family studies, social psychology, social work, and marriage and family counseling.
- Chapter 1: What is Social Support and What Makes You Think You Have it?
- Defining Social Support
- When Does Social Support Exert its Effect?
- Operationalizing Social Support
- Related Constructs: Social Integration and Social Networks
- Social Support in the Context of Marriage
- A Place for Social Support in the Study of Close Relationships
- Chapter 2: Gender-Related Differences in Social Support and Coping
- Who Benefits from Marriage?
- Gender Differences in Sources of Social Support
- Gender Differences in the Provision of Marital Social Support
- Are the Effects of Social Support on Well-Being Different for Men and Women?
- Returning to the Puzzle: Marital Status versus Marital Quality
- The Need for Process Research
- Gender Differences in Coping
- Chapter 3: Giving and Taking Support: A Complicated Process
- Revelation of the Problem
- Appraisal of Support Needs by the Partner
- Providing Support: What Determines Success?
- Chapter 4: The Interplay between Conflict and Social Support: Do Positive Behaviors Really Matter?
- The Role of Social Support in Relationship Maintenance
- Support Failures as a Source of Conflict: Disappointed Expectations for Support
- A Preliminary Investigation of Conflict and Support
- Chapter 5: In Sickness and in Health: When One Partner Has a Serious Illness
- The Importance of Spousal Support in the Context of Illness
- Interdependence of Emotional Reactions and Coping
- Interdependence of Coping
- The Importance of Open Communication
- A Difficult Challenge: Maintaining Equity
- The Spouse Can Be a Source of Stress
- Spousal Support as an Impediment to Recovery
- Chapter 6: Social Support Therapy with Couples
- Social Support is Important
- Understand and Respect Differences
- Other People Can Provide Support Too
- Clear Communication is Important
- Use Support Skills during Arguments
- Moments of Intimacy—Sharing Private Thoughts—Are Important
- Cope Together with Crisis or Tragedy
- When One Partner is Ill, Both Partners Need Support
- Chapter 7: Future Research Directions
- Conceptual Issues
- Social Support and the Developmental Course of Relationships
- Understanding Social Support Transactions
- Intervention Studies