Category: Relationships

Experiencing A Natural Disaster Can Bring Couples Closer — But Only For A While

By Emma Young

If you have a partner, how do you think your relationship would fare in the face of a natural disaster? Do you think it would bring you closer — or might the stresses make your relationship worse?

Various studies have explored this, and their conclusions have been mixed. But virtually all have been hampered by a lack of key data: measures of relationship satisfaction actually taken before a disaster (rather than later recalled), to compare with measures of satisfaction afterwards. A new paper in Psychological Science now plugs this gap. Hannah Williamson at the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues report a remarkable study of 231 couples living in Harris County, Texas, using data collected before and after Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the region in August 2017.

Continue reading “Experiencing A Natural Disaster Can Bring Couples Closer — But Only For A While”

Study Explores Personalities Of People With Adult Separation Anxiety, A “Neglected Clinical Syndrome”

By Emma Young

Most parents will be very familiar with the concept of separation anxiety. It’s hardly rare for babies and toddlers to become anxious when separated from a parent. But I have to confess, I hadn’t heard of Adult Separation Anxiety (ASA) until I came across this new paper in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. For adults, it can manifest as extreme distress at being separated from a partner, or another loved one — even a pet. And it’s thought that 7% of people suffer from it at some point in their lifetimes.

Partly because ASA has been so neglected by researchers, Megan Finsaas at Columbia University and Daniel Klein at Stony Brook University set out to better understand it — and specifically, to explore links with aspects of personality.

Continue reading “Study Explores Personalities Of People With Adult Separation Anxiety, A “Neglected Clinical Syndrome””

Domestic Violence Increased During Lockdown In The United States

By Emily Reynolds

From the very beginning of the pandemic, activists and charities raised concerns that lockdown could be having an impact on domestic violence. Women’s Aid noted that home is often an unsafe environment for those experiencing abuse, while earlier this year Refuge stated that they’d seen a 60% increase in monthly calls to their National Domestic Abuse helpline.

A new study, published in Psychology of Violence, looks at rates of intimate partner violence during the pandemic in the United States. Like data from the UK, it suggests that domestic violence increased during lockdown — and that this was particularly linked to stress.

Continue reading “Domestic Violence Increased During Lockdown In The United States”

During Lockdown, Couples Were Happier When They Blamed The Pandemic For Their Stress

By Emily Reynolds

During the pandemic, many of us were locked down with little face-to-face contact with anybody other than our partners. Considering the stress of the time and the intensely close quarters we were in, you would be forgiven for thinking this was a recipe for serious tension.

A new study, however, suggests the reality might not be so cut and dry. Writing in Social Psychological and Personality Science, a team led by Lisa A. Neff from The University of Texas at Austin found that the pandemic actually played an important part in people’s ability to deal with stress. When couples blamed their levels of stress on the pandemic, the team found, they were happier in their relationship.

Continue reading “During Lockdown, Couples Were Happier When They Blamed The Pandemic For Their Stress”