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Concept: Interpersonal relationships

183

Numerous studies have shown that being able to resolve and recover from conflicts is of key importance for relationship satisfaction and stability in adults. Less is known about the importance of these relationship dynamics in adolescent romantic relationships. Therefore, this study investigated whether conflict resolution and recovery predict breakups in middle adolescent couples. Couples who are able to resolve and recover from conflict were expected to demonstrate a lower probability of breaking up. In total, 80 adolescent couples (M age = 15.48, SD = 1.16) participated in a 4-wave prospective questionnaire and observational study, with one year between measurements. In addition to self-report measures, adolescents were observed in real-time during conflicts with their partners. Multilevel Proportional Hazard analyses revealed that, contrary to the hypothesis, conflict resolution and conflict recovery did not predict the likelihood of breakup. Survival differences were not attributable to conflict resolution or conflict recovery. More research is needed to consider the unique relationship factors of adolescent romantic relationships to determine why some relationships survive while others do not.

Concepts: Scientific method, Observation, Hypothesis, Love, Human bonding, Interpersonal relationships, Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, Relationship breakup

90

Love feelings can be more intense than desired (e.g., after a break-up) or less intense than desired (e.g., in long-term relationships). If only we could control our love feelings! We present the concept of explicit love regulation, which we define as the use of behavioral and cognitive strategies to change the intensity of current feelings of romantic love. We present the first two studies on preconceptions about, strategies for, and the feasibility of love regulation. Questionnaire responses showed that people perceive love feelings as somewhat uncontrollable. Still, in four open questions people reported to use strategies such as cognitive reappraisal, distraction, avoidance, and undertaking (new) activities to cope with break-ups, to maintain long-term relationships, and to regulate love feelings. Instructed up-regulation of love using reappraisal increased subjective feelings of attachment, while love down-regulation decreased subjective feelings of infatuation and attachment. We used the late positive potential (LPP) amplitude as an objective index of regulation success. Instructed love up-regulation enhanced the LPP between 300-400 ms in participants who were involved in a relationship and in participants who had recently experienced a romantic break-up, while love down-regulation reduced the LPP between 700-3000 ms in participants who were involved in a relationship. These findings corroborate the self-reported feasibility of love regulation, although they are complicated by the finding that love up-regulation also reduced the LPP between 700-3000 ms in participants who were involved in a relationship. To conclude, although people have the preconception that love feelings are uncontrollable, we show for the first time that intentional regulation of love feelings using reappraisal, and perhaps other strategies, is feasible. Love regulation will benefit individuals and society because it could enhance positive effects and reduce negative effects of romantic love.

Concepts: Time, Psychology, Interpersonal relationship, Love, Romance, Human bonding, Interpersonal relationships, Relationship breakup

32

Membership in important social groups can promote a positive identity. We propose and test an identity resource model in which personal self-esteem is boosted by membership in additional important social groups. Belonging to multiple important group memberships predicts personal self-esteem in children (Study 1a), older adults (Study 1b), and former residents of a homeless shelter (Study 1c). Study 2 shows that the effects of multiple important group memberships on personal self-esteem are not reducible to number of interpersonal ties. Studies 3a and 3b provide longitudinal evidence that multiple important group memberships predict personal self-esteem over time. Studies 4 and 5 show that collective self-esteem mediates this effect, suggesting that membership in multiple important groups boosts personal self-esteem because people take pride in, and derive meaning from, important group memberships. Discussion focuses on when and why important group memberships act as a social resource that fuels personal self-esteem.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Identity, Interpersonal relationships

32

Although we interact with a wide network of people on a daily basis, the social psychology literature has primarily focused on interactions with close friends and family. The present research tested whether subjective well-being is related not only to interactions with these strong ties but also to interactions with weak social ties (i.e., acquaintances). In Study 1, students experienced greater happiness and greater feelings of belonging on days when they interacted with more classmates than usual. Broadening the scope in Studies 2A and 2B to include all daily interactions (with both strong and weak ties), we again found that weak ties are related to social and emotional well-being. The current results highlight the power of weak ties, suggesting that even social interactions with the more peripheral members of our social networks contribute to our well-being.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Human bonding, Interpersonal relationships, Interpersonal ties, Mathematical sociology

27

Research has shown that the teacher-student interpersonal relationship (TSIR) is important for student motivation. Although TSIR has received a growing interest, there are only few studies that focus on changes and links between TSIR and student academic motivation in a longitudinal fashion in non-Western contexts.

Concepts: Psychology, Interpersonal relationship, Love, Friendship, Interpersonal relationships

25

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing treatment for patients with severe obesity, but little is known about its association with interpersonal relationships.

Concepts: Obesity, Weight loss, Interpersonal relationship, Bariatric surgery, Gastric bypass surgery, Interpersonal relationships

25

Social networking sites offer individuals an opportunity to document and share information about themselves, as well as engaging in social browsing to learn about others. As a micro-blogging site within which users often share information publicly, Twitter may be a particularly suitable venue that can help satisfy both of these motivations. This study investigates how viewers react to disclosure of intimate information on Twitter. Specifically, the impact of disclosure intimacy is studied on attention that viewers pay to a Twitter page, reduction in their uncertainty about the attributes of the page owner, and their interpersonal attraction to the owner of the page. A total of 618 adult online panel members viewed one of six Twitter pages that contained either low-intimacy or high-intimacy tweets. Analyses indicated that viewers exposed to the Twitter pages containing high-intimate information paid more attention to the pages, were more confident about the attributions they could make about the page owner, yet were less willing to pursue further socialization with the page owner. Furthermore, attributional confidence mediated and perceived similarity moderated the relationship between disclosure intimacy and interpersonal attraction. This interaction between disclosure intimacy and perceived similarity was such that viewers who considered the page owner to be similar (dissimilar) to themselves were more (less) socially attracted to page owners who disclosed intimate information. These findings suggest that while intimate information shared on a Twitter page draws attention, this does not necessarily result in further socialization with the page owner-an effect we named as the “rubbernecking effect” of intimate information.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Interpersonal relationship, Internet, Social network service, Interpersonal relationships, Twitter, Interpersonal attraction

14

The purpose of this research was to examine the associations of attachment anxiety and avoidance with personal growth following relationship dissolution, and to test breakup distress, rumination, and tendency to rebound with new partners as mediators of these associations. Study 1 (N = 411) and Study 2 (N = 465) measured attachment style, breakup distress, and personal growth; Study 2 additionally measured ruminative reflection, brooding, and proclivity to rebound with new partners. Structural equation modelling revealed in both studies that anxiety was indirectly associated with greater personal growth through heightened breakup distress, whereas avoidance was indirectly associated with lower personal growth through inhibited breakup distress. Study 2 further showed that the positive association of breakup distress with personal growth was accounted for by enhanced reflection and brooding, and that anxious individuals' greater personal growth was also explained by their proclivity to rebound. These findings suggest that anxious individuals' hyperactivated breakup distress may act as a catalyst for personal growth by promoting the cognitive processing of breakup-related thoughts and emotions, whereas avoidant individuals' deactivated distress may inhibit personal growth by suppressing this cognitive work.

Concepts: Psychology, Interpersonal relationship, Love, Attachment theory, Family therapy, Attachment measures, Human bonding, Interpersonal relationships

12

A strong predisposition to engage in sexual intercourse likely evolved in humans because sex is crucial to reproduction. Given that meeting interpersonal preferences tends to promote positive relationship evaluations, sex within a relationship should be positively associated with relationship satisfaction. Nevertheless, prior research has been inconclusive in demonstrating such a link, with longitudinal and experimental studies showing no association between sexual frequency and relationship satisfaction. Crucially, though, all prior research has utilized explicit reports of satisfaction, which reflect deliberative processes that may override the more automatic implications of phylogenetically older evolved preferences. Accordingly, capturing the implications of sexual frequency for relationship evaluations may require implicit measurements that bypass deliberative reasoning. Consistent with this idea, one cross-sectional and one 3-year study of newlywed couples revealed a positive association between sexual frequency and automatic partner evaluations but not explicit satisfaction. These findings highlight the importance of automatic measurements to understanding interpersonal relationships.

Concepts: Marriage, Sexual intercourse, Reproduction, Evolution, Sex, Interpersonal relationship, Human sexual behavior, Interpersonal relationships

9

Romantic relationship dissolution can be stressful, and social networking sites make it difficult to separate from a romantic partner online as well as offline. An online survey (N = 431) tested a model synthesizing attachment, investment model variables, and post-dissolution emotional distress as predictors of interpersonal surveillance (i.e., “Facebook stalking”) of one’s ex-partner on Facebook after a breakup. Results indicated that anxious attachment predicted relational investment but also seeking relationship alternatives; avoidant attachment was negatively related to investment but positively related to seeking alternatives. Investment predicted commitment, whereas seeking alternatives was negatively related to commitment. Commitment predicted emotional distress after the breakup. Distress predicted partner monitoring immediately following the breakup, particularly for those who did not initiate the breakup, as well as current partner monitoring. Given their affordances, social media are discussed as potentially unhealthy enablers for online surveillance after relationship termination.

Concepts: Interpersonal relationship, Love, Web 2.0, Social network service, Attachment in adults, Human bonding, Interpersonal relationships, Facebook