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"We Feel Good": Daily Support Provision, Health Behavior, and Well-Being in Romantic Couples


Berli, Corina; Schwaninger, Philipp; Scholz, Urte (2021). "We Feel Good": Daily Support Provision, Health Behavior, and Well-Being in Romantic Couples. Frontiers in Psychology, 11:622492.

Abstract

Intimate partners are an important source of support when pursuing health goals. A vast amount of literature documents the role of social support in alleviating recipients' distress and facilitating health behaviors. Less studied is the phenomenon that providing support may entail a benefit for the provider, particularly in the context of health behavior change. In the present study, we investigated whether providing social support in daily life would be associated with more health behavior, and emotional and relational well-being that same day, using a sample of romantic couples aiming to become more physically active. Ninety-nine inactive and overweight heterosexual romantic couples (=198 individuals) participated in this dyadic daily diary study. Both partners reported on the provision of social support, positive and negative affect, and relationship satisfaction in electronic end-of-day diaries across 14 consecutive days. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was objectively assessed via triaxial accelerometers (Actigraph GT3X+). Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM), dyadic data analyses indicated that providing support to the partner was associated with higher own MVPA, more own positive affect, less own negative affect, and more own relationship satisfaction (actor effects), over and above the effect of support provision on outcomes in the other partner (partner effects). The present findings suggest that the provision of daily social support in couples is strongly associated with enhanced well-being not only at a personal level but also at a relational level. Providing social support may also serve the function of relationship maintenance. Thus, shifting the focus away from the recipient to examine beneficial effects of social support in providers is highly relevant. Future research should address the question of when, why, and how giving support is beneficial.

Abstract

Intimate partners are an important source of support when pursuing health goals. A vast amount of literature documents the role of social support in alleviating recipients' distress and facilitating health behaviors. Less studied is the phenomenon that providing support may entail a benefit for the provider, particularly in the context of health behavior change. In the present study, we investigated whether providing social support in daily life would be associated with more health behavior, and emotional and relational well-being that same day, using a sample of romantic couples aiming to become more physically active. Ninety-nine inactive and overweight heterosexual romantic couples (=198 individuals) participated in this dyadic daily diary study. Both partners reported on the provision of social support, positive and negative affect, and relationship satisfaction in electronic end-of-day diaries across 14 consecutive days. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was objectively assessed via triaxial accelerometers (Actigraph GT3X+). Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM), dyadic data analyses indicated that providing support to the partner was associated with higher own MVPA, more own positive affect, less own negative affect, and more own relationship satisfaction (actor effects), over and above the effect of support provision on outcomes in the other partner (partner effects). The present findings suggest that the provision of daily social support in couples is strongly associated with enhanced well-being not only at a personal level but also at a relational level. Providing social support may also serve the function of relationship maintenance. Thus, shifting the focus away from the recipient to examine beneficial effects of social support in providers is highly relevant. Future research should address the question of when, why, and how giving support is beneficial.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Language:English
Date:2021
Deposited On:23 Feb 2021 14:24
Last Modified:27 May 2021 08:34
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-1078
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.622492
PubMed ID:33536986

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