Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study identifies couples’ underlying concerns during a fight

Date:
June 26, 2010
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
A new study has found that there are two fundamental underlying concerns when partners in a committed relationship fight. Researchers have identified the first type of underlying concern as perceived threat, which involves a perception that one's partner is being hostile, critical, blaming or controlling. The second type of concern is called perceived neglect, which involves a perception that one's partner is failing to make a desired contribution or failing to demonstrate an ideal level of commitment or investment in the relationship.

Researchers have identified the two underlying causes of fights between couples.
Credit: iStockphoto/Diego Cervo

A new Baylor University study has found that there are two fundamental underlying concerns when partners in a committed relationship fight.

Dr. Keith Sanford, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, has not only identified the underlying concerns, he also has developed a specific method to measure them.

Sanford and his research have identified the first type of underlying concern as perceived threat, which involves a perception that one's partner is being hostile, critical, blaming or controlling.

The second type of concern is called perceived neglect, which involves a perception that one's partner is failing to make a desired contribution or failing to demonstrate an ideal level of commitment or investment in the relationship.

The results appear in the American Psychological Association's journal Psychological Assessment.

"When people have underlying concerns about a perceived threat or perceived neglect, they may be likely to engage in reflexive, emotionally charged behavior that can initially serve to escalate the conflict," Sanford said. "This means that perceived threat and neglect should correlate with how couples communicate during conflict. Each type of concern is associated with a specific and distinct set of emotions and perceptions."

Another result, Sanford believes, is that concerns regarding perceived neglect may be best resolved when a person receives an apology and then decides to forgive. In contrast, a person concerned about a perceived threat may be more interested in receiving demonstrations of deference, expressions of appreciation, and reductions in hostility.

Sanford and his research team also have created an assessment tool to measure these two underlying concerns. The Couples Underlying Concern Inventory is a questionnaire measuring the two basic types of underlying concern that couples experience during episodes of conflict. This study provides initial evidence supporting the validity of the assessment.

Sanford said the results suggest that an assessment of underlying concerns can provide important information about how a respondent is viewing a conflict interaction. He also said the results support the feasibility of encouraging people to express emotion when they perceive neglect but raise some doubts about the feasibility of this approach in situations where the underlying concern involves a perceived threat.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sanford et al. Perceived threat and perceived neglect: Couples' underlying concerns during conflict.. Psychological Assessment, 2010; 22 (2): 288 DOI: 10.1037/a0018706

Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Study identifies couples’ underlying concerns during a fight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624141517.htm>.
Baylor University. (2010, June 26). Study identifies couples’ underlying concerns during a fight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624141517.htm
Baylor University. "Study identifies couples’ underlying concerns during a fight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624141517.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins