Navigation auf


Department of Psychology Clinical Psychology for Children/Adolescents and Couples/Families

Dyadic coping in adolescent couples

How do young couples cope together and how is their dyadic coping influenced by their parents’ models?

Long-standing efforts to explain why marriages fail have focused on a range of negative communication behaviors (e.g., hostile criticism), but emerging research demonstrates that positive, prosocial forms of communication are crucial to the development and maintenance of healthy relationships. For example, observational research shows that partners who work well together as a team, support one another, and cope together effectively as a dyad, go on to experience higher levels of relationship satisfaction and lower rates of divorce. While a growing number of studies yields empirical evidence for the significance of dyadic coping in adult couples, nearly no scientifically founded knowledge exists on the role of dyadic coping in adolescents' romantic relationships. For example, we currently know little about how adolescents support each other in stressful situations and how dyadic coping contributes to relationship functioning at this stage of close relationships, and there is sparse knowledge on the intergenerational transmission of dyadic coping from parents to adolescents. This study is designed to examine these two questions and to fill an important gap of knowledge in research on close relationships. More specifically, we are interested in the way mid and late adolescents (aged 16 to 21 years) perform dyadic coping by comparing their behavior to adult couples coping behavior. Additionally, we want to understand if and how parents' dyadic coping as well as relationship functioning is associated with their children's dyadic coping in their own relationship and if this association (transmission) is moderated by the adolescents' evaluation of their parents being a model for their own behavior. We propose to investigate dyadic coping in 80 adolescent couples and, to examine how these prosocial behaviors arise from the marriages of their parents, we also propose to examine dyadic coping in the male partners' parents and in the female partners' parents. All adolescents are required to have lived in the same family situation since the age of 11 and to be in a stable relationship of their own for 12 months or more. Data will be collected from all three types of dyads (male adolescent/female adolescent; male adolescents' parents; female adolescents' parents) using validated questionnaires, interviews, and observational procedures. Moderators such as relationship quality of the parents and adolescents, parents' conflict style, personality (neuroticism, attachment) are controlled for.

Weiterführende Informationen