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.

Future Research Directions

Future research directions

We have good evidence that a supportive relationship with an intimate partner is a significant asset. We do not know why, however, and we do not know how to help people who do not have adequate social support obtain it. In this volume, I have proposed that one of the primary mechanisms through which social support confers its benefits is through its positive effects on close relationships. I have argued that consistent responsivity to the other's needs within a close relationship fosters love, trust, tolerance, and commitment. All of these contribute to the stability of intimate relationships. The benefits of marriage for mental and physical health are outlined in Chapter 1. If social support increases the stability of marital relationships, ...

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