Le dernier numéro de Current Opinion in Psychology vient de paraître. Il porte sur les relations de couple et le stress.
Relationships and stress (Volume 13, Pages 1-162 (February 2017)). Edited by Gery C. Karantzas, Jeffry A. Simpson and Marita P. McCabe.
Issu d’une conférence en Australie en 2014, il synthétise des recherches sur quatre sources de stress dans les relations de couple :
« (1) normative life transitions (e.g., marriage, parenthood, caring for spouses or parents),
(2) non-normative/unexpected life transitions (e.g., acute and chronic physical/mental illness, natural disasters, infertility),
(3) within-couple processes and relationship dissolution (e.g., predictors [such as communication/conflict, relationship transgressions, intimate partner violence, sexual dysfunction] and outcomes of divorce/dissolution/health problems), and
(4) external stressors to couples/relationships (e.g., work/family spill-over, being an ethnic/social minority). »
This special issue also includes addiction, pornography, blended families, physiology, genetics, sexual dysfunction, same sex relationships and therapeutic approaches targeting relationships under duress. »
Mon attention a été attirée par l’article :
What type of communication during conflict is beneficial for intimate relationships? Nickola C Overall, James K McNulty
What constitutes effective communication during conflict? Answering this question requires first, clarifying whether communication expresses opposition versus cooperation and is direct versus indirect; second, assessing the mechanisms through which communication effects relationships; and third, identifying the contextual factors that determine the impact of communication.
Recent research incorporating these components illustrates that
direct opposition is
- beneficial when serious problems need to be addressed and partners are able to change, but can be
- harmful when partners are not confident or secure enough to be responsive.
By contrast, cooperative communication involving affection and validation can be
- harmful when serious problems need to changed, but may be
- beneficial when problems are minor, cannot be changed, or involve partners whose defensiveness curtails problem solving.
Extraits et schémas de synthèse :
Conflict, communication and resolving relationship problems
Clinical researchers pioneered the investigation of communication during conflict with the aim of distinguishing distressed couples embroiled in intractable disagreements from more satisfied couples. Not surprisingly, hundreds of cross-sectional studies in this tradition revealed that dissatisfied couples exhibit greater disagreement, hostility, and criticism compared to satisfied couples who express greater agreement, affection and humor [10–14].
Some longitudinal studies have also provided evidence that the presence of hostile disagreement predicts declines in
satisfaction, whereas expressing agreement and affection
sustains relationship satisfaction . These patterns suggest
that communication intuitively understood as ‘negative’
is harmful for relationships, whereas more pleasant
and assumed ‘positive’ communication is beneficial.
Yet, amongst this mass of studies, notable exceptions
have provided contrary evidence by showing that disagreement,
criticism and anger during couples’ conflict
discussions predicts relative improvements in satisfaction
across time [15–18], whereas expressing agreement
and humor undermines satisfaction and stability [15,16].
Motivés à changer
The common thread in the explanations offered for
this reverse pattern is that directly confronting problems
by engaging in conflict motivates partners to produce
desired changes and, thus, leads to more successful
problem resolution [11,16–19,20].
By contrast, high
levels of affection, validation and humor may soften
the immediate unpleasantness of conflict but in doing
so fail to motivate partners to change [15,16,20].
testing this explanation requires two important
additions to the way researchers have typically assessed
communication and its effects. Research needs to first,
more clearly identify the ingredients of communication
that motivate partner change and promote problem resolution,
and then second, test whether these types of communication actually do facilitate problem resolution across time.
First, we have measured different types of communication that vary according to the two dimensions depicted in Figure 1.
The vertical dimension captures what has been traditionally understood as ‘negative’ versus ‘positive’ communication and specifies whether communication expresses opposing or contrasting goals and motivations (opposition) versus cooperative or aligned goals and motivations (cooperation).
The horizontal dimension captures the directness of communication and specifies whether communication is explicit and overt (direct) versus passive and covert
(indirect) with regard to the problem and how that problem can be improved.
The two dimensions produce four types of communication:
- direct opposition (e.g., derogating/ blaming the partner),
- indirect opposition (e.g., inducing guilt/sympathy),
- direct cooperation (e.g., reasoning)
- and indirect cooperation (e.g., softening conflict via affection).
Résultats selon le contexte :
Understanding what constitutes effective communication
during conflict requires first, clarifying whether
communication expresses opposition versus cooperation
and represents direct versus indirect attempts to resolve
problems (Figure 1); second, assessing the mechanisms
through which communication affects relationships,
such as motivating partners to improve problems; and
third, identifying the contextual factors that determine
the relative benefits versus costs of different types of
communication (Figure 2). Our brief review did not
cover all of the important dimensions (e.g., disengagement
[17,49]), mechanisms (e.g., perceived investment
[17,20]), and contextual factors (e.g., extra-dyadic stress
[15,31,50]) that will determine the ultimate impact of
communication. However, the research we examined
demonstrated that incorporating these three components
into future investigations is crucial to truly grasp
the best way for couples to manage conflict. Indeed, by
incorporating these three elements, recent research has
challenged assumptions that disagreement and opposition
is bad for relationships, and softening conflict with
affection, forgiveness and validation is good. Instead,
this research reveals that direct opposition can be necessary
when serious problems need to be addressed and
partners are able to change, but can inflict harm when
partners are not confident or secure enough to be responsive.
By contrast, a softer more cooperative approach
involving affection and validation can be
harmful when serious problems need to changed, but
may be sustaining in the face of problems that are minor,
cannot be changed, or involve partners whose defensiveness
curtails problem solving. In short, couples need
to adjust their communication to the contextual
demands they are facing in order to turn conflict into
a catalyst for building healthier and happier relationships.