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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.

The Interplay between Conflict and Social Support: Do Positive Behaviors Really Matter?
The interplay between conflict and social support: Do positive behaviors really matter?

Karen and Rick had been married for 3 years when they received the news that Karen's mother had terminal cancer. The news came at a time when both Karen and Rick were under considerable stress from other sources: Karen was a first-year graduate student and Rick was in the first year of his residency in internal medicine at an urban hospital. They filed for divorce 2 years later. Karen feels that the stress of her mother's illness played a major role in the deterioration of the relationship. She tells her side of the story:

“I think we were both pretty immature when we ...

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