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Approach-avoidance goals and relationship problems, communication of stress, and dyadic coping in couples


Kuster, Monika; Backes, Sabine; Brandstätter, Veronika; Nussbeck, Fridtjof W; Bradbury, Thomas N; Sutter-Stickel, Dorothee; Bodenmann, Guy (2017). Approach-avoidance goals and relationship problems, communication of stress, and dyadic coping in couples. Motivation & Emotion, 41(5):576-590.

Abstract

Partners in romantic relationships differ in the extent to which they are oriented towards positive outcomes (e.g., intimacy) or away from negative outcomes (e.g., conflict). The present study examines these approach-avoidance relationship goals in relation to self-reported relationship problems, stress communication, and dyadic coping. Hypotheses were tested on a dyadic level (Actor-Partner Interdependence Model) using data from 368 couples. As expected, people endorsing approach goals reported fewer relationship problems, more effective stress communication, and better dyadic coping. People endorsing avoidance goals reported more relationship problems and poorer dyadic coping. Further, approach-oriented people tended to perceive their partner as being more communicative and more supportive, whereas avoidance-oriented people tended to perceive their partner as more communicative but less supportive. Reports by partners agreed with the self-reports of approach- and avoidance-oriented spouses concerning stress communication and dyadic coping. These findings highlight motivational factors in general, and orientation towards approach-avoidance goals in particular, as key features in understanding relationship maintenance.

Abstract

Partners in romantic relationships differ in the extent to which they are oriented towards positive outcomes (e.g., intimacy) or away from negative outcomes (e.g., conflict). The present study examines these approach-avoidance relationship goals in relation to self-reported relationship problems, stress communication, and dyadic coping. Hypotheses were tested on a dyadic level (Actor-Partner Interdependence Model) using data from 368 couples. As expected, people endorsing approach goals reported fewer relationship problems, more effective stress communication, and better dyadic coping. People endorsing avoidance goals reported more relationship problems and poorer dyadic coping. Further, approach-oriented people tended to perceive their partner as being more communicative and more supportive, whereas avoidance-oriented people tended to perceive their partner as more communicative but less supportive. Reports by partners agreed with the self-reports of approach- and avoidance-oriented spouses concerning stress communication and dyadic coping. These findings highlight motivational factors in general, and orientation towards approach-avoidance goals in particular, as key features in understanding relationship maintenance.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:29 Sep 2017 14:24
Last Modified:09 Dec 2017 02:26
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0146-7239
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-017-9629-3

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