Helping or Hurting? The Role of Unmitigated Communion and Relationship Intimacy Following Support Receipt

2019-08-08T18:32:41Z (GMT) by William Crouch
Unmitigated communion (UC) is defined as a focus on others often to the exclusion of the self (Bakan, 1966; Helgeson, 1994). A common trait of high UC individuals is their eagerness to provide help; however, when UC individuals receive help, they experience negative emotion and discomfort that stems from a negative sense of the self. Therefore, we examined the affective and behavioral responses to support receipt of high and low UC individuals in a laboratory setting. Additionally, we examined if relationship intimacy moderates these reactions. We found that UC was not directly related to affective and behavioral outcomes; however, we did find interactions between UC and relationship intimacy for positive affect and prospective support behaviors. These findings suggest that relationship intimacy plays an important role in how high UC individuals respond to support receipt, such that high intimacy partners (e.g., close friends and family members) might produce the most negative outcomes when attempting to provide help to those who score high on UC.