Communal Coping Among Couples in Stressful Situations
thesisposted on 01.05.2014, 00:00 by Emma Bright
The purpose of this study was to examine manipulated communal coping as a strategy for couples dealing with a stressful task. Participants were 39 student couples from Pittsburgh who were lead to believe that they would give a brief presentation that would be rated based on quality by a professor. Communal coping was manipulated by giving couples one of two sets of instructions that indicated that the presentation was the responsibility of one partner (noncommunal) or both partners (communal). Couples were given 8 minutes to prepare for. the task together. We predicted that physiological and perceived stress would be lower in the communal than the non-communal coping condition. We expected higher relationship satisfaction, better mood, higher self-esteem in the commmunal than the non-communal coping condition. Manipulation checks revealed that the communal coping manipulation was not perceived as intended. When we examined the effect of the communal coping manipulation on outcomes, results showed that partners assigned to the communal coping condition reported more negative task appraisals, higher perceived stress, and lower self-esteem than those assigned to the noncommm1al coping condition. We also examined the relation of self-reports of communal coping and collaboration to outcomes, and found that perceived communal coping was related to more positive task appraisals, lower perceived stress, and more instrmnental support, but less relationship satisfaction for both participants and partners. Talcen collectively, the patterns of results indicate that communal coping has negative effects for the partner and positive associations for the participant. The relation of communal coping and relationship satisfaction is not entirely clear and requires further exploration.