Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Emotional Control, Self-Efficacy and Social Support as Predictors of Intimate Relationship Satisfaction among Dating Partners

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Emotional Control, Self-Efficacy and Social Support as Predictors of Intimate Relationship Satisfaction among Dating Partners

Article excerpt


Relationships are often described as one of the most important factors in people's lives. Difficulties and dissatisfaction in close relationships can contribute to increased stress and have been identified as an impetus that can lead people to seek mental health services (Doss & Christensen, 2007). Along these lines, relationship difficulties are one of the most common presenting problems of individuals seeking psychotherapy. From the perspective of clinical and counseling psychologists, understanding factors associated with relationship satisfaction in romantic love relationships has important implications for working with clients who present with interpersonal distress.

Intimate relationship dissatisfaction has been associated with a high likelihood of psychiatric disorders among heterosexual adults and the balance of evidence from various studies seems to indicate that the nature of this relationship is both complex and bidirectional. For this reason, Leach, Butterworth, Olesen, & Mackinnon (2013) argued that relationship quality among married and cohabiting individuals should be considered as a risk factor included in major epidemiological studies on mental health disorders. These scholars found that among heterosexual adults, men in poorer-quality relationships reported similar depression and anxiety symptoms to un-partnered men, and women in poorerquality relationships reported similar depression symptoms and greater anxiety symptoms to un- partnered women. Therefore only romantic relationships characterized by high relationship satisfaction resulted in mental health benefits over remaining single.

Bargarozzi (1999) argued that intimacy is more than a type of interaction and that it is a 'detailed knowledge or deep understanding' of the other, acquired over time within the context of a loving relationship Across repeated interactions, relationship partners form general perceptions that reflect the degree to which the relationship is intimate. Over time, these perceptions take on an emergent property that extends beyond the experiences contained within any particular interaction (Chelune, Robison, & Krommor 1984). These perceptions, or intimacy schemas, encapsulate each partner's experience with the other over time, and mediate the impact of individual interactions.

Social support is the perception and actuality that one is cared for, has assistance available from other people, and that one is part of a supportive social system. These supportive resources can be emotional (e.g. nurturance), tangible (e.g. financial assistance), informational (e.g. advice), or companionship (e.g. sense of belonging) and intangible (e.g., personal advice) (Encyclopedia, 2017).

Social support can be measured as the perception that one has assistance available, the actual received assistance, or the degree to which a person is integrated in a social network. Support can come from many sources including family, friends, pets, neighbors, coworkers, organizations, etc.

Government- provided social support is often referred to as public aid. It is associated with how networking helps people cope with stressful events. Besides, it can enhance psychological wellbeing. Some intimate relationships are characterized by emotional support, in which one partner shares a difficulty, and the other offers comfort, reassurance, confidence building, and alternative (i.e., more benign) perspectives for thinking about the problem (Bowsher, Landford & Malony, 1997). Adults who perceive that others, especially their spouses, are available to provide emotional support if and when they need it enjoy many positive outcomes, including better physical and mental health and improved immune functioning (Bowsher, et al., 1997).

Effective provision of emotional support is important for a relationship as well as for the individual partner. Partners who are agile providers of emotional support in the early stages of their relationships have less marital distress later on. …

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