chapter  17
33 Pages

An Experimental Approach to Social Support Communications: Interactive Coping in Close Relationships: Anita P. Barbee and Michael R. Cunningham

A common complaint among people who are in distressed marriages,rocky romantic partnerships, or estranged friendships is that they feelmisunderstood and unsupported (Baxter, 1986). People in these kinds of relationships often have arguments over how one partner fails to help the other with problems or bad moods during times of stress. Emotional support has been found to be one of the best predictors of satisfaction in relationships (Buhrmester, Furman, Wittenberg, & Reis, 1988). As a consequence, understanding the communication behaviors that lead to the solving of problems or the amelioration of a partner's distress has become a focus of a number of investigators (Burleson, 1994). Cataloging the individual, relationship, and contextual variables that influence the likelihood that supportive or problem-solving communications will be offered for various types of issues also has become an important goal for a number of disciplines, including communication and clinical and social psychology.