Saturday, March 26, 2016

Emotional Interdependence and Well-Being in Close Relationships

Emotional interdependence—here defined as partners’ emotions being linked to each other across time—is often considered a key characteristic of healthy romantic relationships. But is this actually the case? We conducted an experience-sampling study with 50 couples indicating their feelings 10 times a day for 7 days and modeled emotional interdependence for each couple separately taking a dyadographic approach. 

The majority of couples (64%) did not demonstrate strong signs of emotional interdependence, and couples that did, showed great inter-dyad differences in their specific patterns. Individuals from emotionally more interdependent couples reported higher individual well-being than individuals from more independent couples in terms of life satisfaction but not depression. Relational well-being was not (relationship satisfaction) or even negatively (empathic concern) related to the degree of emotional interdependence. Especially driving the emotions of the partner (i.e., sender effects) accounted for these associations, opposed to following the emotions of the partner (i.e., receiver effects). 

Additionally, assessing emotional interdependence for positive and negative emotions separately elucidated that primarily emotional interdependence for positive emotions predicted more self-reported life satisfaction and less empathic concern. 

These findings highlight the existence of large inter-dyad differences, explore relationships between emotional interdependence and key well-being variables, and demonstrate differential correlates for sending and receiving emotions.

Below:  Interpersonal emotion dynamics presented as a network. The four nodes represent positive (PE) and negative emotions (NE) of both partners. The arrows represent slopes, and thus the effects of emotions at time t-1 on emotions at time t. Solid arrows correspond to slopes for cross-partner connections, and thus partner effects, and dashed arrows to within-partner connections or actor effects.

Below:  Percentages of interdependent couples that evidenced specific cross-partner connections

Full article at:

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Edited by: Vivian Zayas, Cornell University, USA
Reviewed by: Jiyoung Park, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA; Emre Selcuk, Middle East Technical University, Turkey

No comments:

Post a Comment