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New Research: Unconditional support in relationships has one downside

What kind of study was this?

This article was a collection of different types of studies (survey-observational, experimental, and laboratory-observational). The authors described each study and their results and then explained how they supported their theoretical model of unconditional support in the context of outside conflict.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know how unconditional support in an intimate relationship affects conflict outside of the relationship. The researchers wanted to see if unconditionally supporting your partner when they’re in a fight with someone else serves to worsen or improve the conflict.

What did the researchers actually do?

They gave couples questionnaires and also ran them through different behavioral experiments to see how the couples' sense of empathy and unconditional support affected how they managed conflict and viewed people they didn’t like outside of the relationship.

What did the researchers find?

They found that partners who were highly empathetic and strongly supportive of their partner were more likely to agree with their loved one’s negative views of an adversary and encouraged blaming the other person for the conflict.

This led the loved one to be more likely to avoid the adversary and become less interested in resolving the conflict. Those who didn’t receive this support from their partners were much less likely to blame their adversary and avoid them, and much more likely to seek reconciliation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Empathy and unconditional support are the cornerstones of strong relationships, but there’s a place for reflecting a more objective, distanced perspective to your spouse or partner, especially when it comes to conflicts outside of the relationship. It can not only be grounding but can be beneficial to broader relationships to give your partner a balanced view of their outside conflicts.

Original article:
Lemay, E. P., Jr., Ryan, J. E., Fehr, R., & Gelfand, M. J. (2020). Validation of negativity: Drawbacks of interpersonal responsiveness during conflicts with outsiders. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(1), 104–135. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000214

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New Research: Unconditional support in relationships has one downside

Unconditionally supporting our spouses or life partners might be a great general rule of thumb, but at least one downside is that it can worsen conflicts outside the relationship.

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What kind of study was this?

This article was a collection of different types of studies (survey-observational, experimental, and laboratory-observational). The authors described each study and their results and then explained how they supported their theoretical model of unconditional support in the context of outside conflict.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know how unconditional support in an intimate relationship affects conflict outside of the relationship. The researchers wanted to see if unconditionally supporting your partner when they’re in a fight with someone else serves to worsen or improve the conflict.

What did the researchers actually do?

They gave couples questionnaires and also ran them through different behavioral experiments to see how the couples' sense of empathy and unconditional support affected how they managed conflict and viewed people they didn’t like outside of the relationship.

What did the researchers find?

They found that partners who were highly empathetic and strongly supportive of their partner were more likely to agree with their loved one’s negative views of an adversary and encouraged blaming the other person for the conflict.

This led the loved one to be more likely to avoid the adversary and become less interested in resolving the conflict. Those who didn’t receive this support from their partners were much less likely to blame their adversary and avoid them, and much more likely to seek reconciliation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Empathy and unconditional support are the cornerstones of strong relationships, but there’s a place for reflecting a more objective, distanced perspective to your spouse or partner, especially when it comes to conflicts outside of the relationship. It can not only be grounding but can be beneficial to broader relationships to give your partner a balanced view of their outside conflicts.

Original article:
Lemay, E. P., Jr., Ryan, J. E., Fehr, R., & Gelfand, M. J. (2020). Validation of negativity: Drawbacks of interpersonal responsiveness during conflicts with outsiders. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(1), 104–135. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000214

What kind of study was this?

This article was a collection of different types of studies (survey-observational, experimental, and laboratory-observational). The authors described each study and their results and then explained how they supported their theoretical model of unconditional support in the context of outside conflict.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know how unconditional support in an intimate relationship affects conflict outside of the relationship. The researchers wanted to see if unconditionally supporting your partner when they’re in a fight with someone else serves to worsen or improve the conflict.

What did the researchers actually do?

They gave couples questionnaires and also ran them through different behavioral experiments to see how the couples' sense of empathy and unconditional support affected how they managed conflict and viewed people they didn’t like outside of the relationship.

What did the researchers find?

They found that partners who were highly empathetic and strongly supportive of their partner were more likely to agree with their loved one’s negative views of an adversary and encouraged blaming the other person for the conflict.

This led the loved one to be more likely to avoid the adversary and become less interested in resolving the conflict. Those who didn’t receive this support from their partners were much less likely to blame their adversary and avoid them, and much more likely to seek reconciliation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Empathy and unconditional support are the cornerstones of strong relationships, but there’s a place for reflecting a more objective, distanced perspective to your spouse or partner, especially when it comes to conflicts outside of the relationship. It can not only be grounding but can be beneficial to broader relationships to give your partner a balanced view of their outside conflicts.

Original article:
Lemay, E. P., Jr., Ryan, J. E., Fehr, R., & Gelfand, M. J. (2020). Validation of negativity: Drawbacks of interpersonal responsiveness during conflicts with outsiders. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(1), 104–135. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000214

What kind of study was this?

This article was a collection of different types of studies (survey-observational, experimental, and laboratory-observational). The authors described each study and their results and then explained how they supported their theoretical model of unconditional support in the context of outside conflict.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know how unconditional support in an intimate relationship affects conflict outside of the relationship. The researchers wanted to see if unconditionally supporting your partner when they’re in a fight with someone else serves to worsen or improve the conflict.

What did the researchers actually do?

They gave couples questionnaires and also ran them through different behavioral experiments to see how the couples' sense of empathy and unconditional support affected how they managed conflict and viewed people they didn’t like outside of the relationship.

What did the researchers find?

They found that partners who were highly empathetic and strongly supportive of their partner were more likely to agree with their loved one’s negative views of an adversary and encouraged blaming the other person for the conflict.

This led the loved one to be more likely to avoid the adversary and become less interested in resolving the conflict. Those who didn’t receive this support from their partners were much less likely to blame their adversary and avoid them, and much more likely to seek reconciliation.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Empathy and unconditional support are the cornerstones of strong relationships, but there’s a place for reflecting a more objective, distanced perspective to your spouse or partner, especially when it comes to conflicts outside of the relationship. It can not only be grounding but can be beneficial to broader relationships to give your partner a balanced view of their outside conflicts.

Original article:
Lemay, E. P., Jr., Ryan, J. E., Fehr, R., & Gelfand, M. J. (2020). Validation of negativity: Drawbacks of interpersonal responsiveness during conflicts with outsiders. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(1), 104–135. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000214

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