chapter  29
Theory of Resilience and Relational Load (TRRL)
Understanding Families as Systems of Stress and Calibration
ByTamara D. Afifi, Kathryn Harrison
Pages 13

A better theoretical understanding of how and why resilience is created and maintained in relationships and its effects on personal and relational health is required. The theory of resilience and relational load (TRRL) was developed to fill this void in the literature. It is a new theory that was created to better understand families and relationships as communicative, dynamic systems of stress and resilience. This chapter describes the intellectual tradition behind the TRRL. It then outlines some of the assumptions and propositions of the theory, as well as the role of communication in it. Finally, it examines how it has been tested so far and its practical contributions, strengths and limitations, and possible future directions. The TRRL focuses on relationship maintenance as the primary means through which couples and families manage stress. The TRRL emerged out of years of observing families communicating when they are stressed, but it crystalized from a study on the Great Recession of 2007–2009.