Editorial: Dyadic Coping
- 1Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
- 2School of Public Health, University of Maryland, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, United States
- 3Counseling and Counseling Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States
Editorial on the Research Topic
Theoretical Background and Key Assumptions
Twenty years ago, dyadic coping arose from the conceptualization of stress and coping in romantic dyads, abandoning the traditional individual view of these phenomena. Since then theoretical contributions on dyadic coping (Bodenmann, 1997; Revenson et al., 2005; Revenson and Lepore, 2012; Falconier et al., 2016) and empirical studies have been published (see review article by Falconier and Kuhn), which extend work on conceptualizing dyadic coping and its beneficial association on individual and relational well-being.
Based on the individual-oriented theory of stress and coping by Lazarus and Folkman (1984), the Systemic Transactional Model (STM; Bodenmann, 1995, 2005) became an internationally recognized theory of stress and coping in couples and families. The key assumption of STM refers to the interdependence between romantic partners (Kelley et al., 1983), ascertaining that stress of one romantic partner always affects the other partner, through processes of stress spillover (Bodenmann et al., 2007) and cross-over (Neff and Karney, 2007). As such, this view of shared or mutual stress opens the possibility for common/joint dyadic coping, where either one partner supports the other in his/her own coping efforts (supportive or delegated dyadic coping) or both partners engage together in shared problem-solving or joint emotion-regulation (common dyadic coping).
Dyadic coping can be conceptualized as positive (emotion-focused, problem-focused, or delegated) or negative (e.g., superficial, ambivalent, hostile) (Bodenmann et al., 2016). From a STM perspective (Bodenmann, 1995, 2005), dyadic coping involves cognitive (individual and dyadic appraisals of stress and coping resources, individual and dyadic goals), emotional (shared emotions and co-regulation of emotions), physiological (shared arousals, impact of dyadic coping on endocrine processes) and behavioral aspects and processes (e.g., overt stress management activities, active listening to the partner's stress-related self-disclosure, verbal and non-verbal support behaviors like holding each other, hugging, giving a massage, active joint problem-solving). Dyadic coping is usually assessed by self-reports (such as e.g., the Dyadic Coping Inventory; DCI, Bodenmann, 2008), diary studies or behavioral coding (e.g., Kuhn et al., 2018; Leuchtmann et al., 2018; Lau et al.).
Evolution of Dyadic Coping Research
Entering the keyword “dyadic coping” in ISI Web of Knowledge yields an impressive figure of the development of dyadic coping research since 1992. While in 1992, four publications cited dyadic coping, in 2018, 1,347 publications were referring to couple's coping.
At the beginning dyadic coping research focused primarily on the impact of daily hassles on couples' functioning (e.g., relationship satisfaction, couple's communication, sexuality, commitment, relationship dissolution). Researchers were interested in stress spill-over and cross-over processes within couples exposed to daily external stress and how couples effectively cope with these stressors (Story and Bradbury, 2004; Neff and Karney, 2007; Randall and Bodenmann, 2009, 2017; Falconier et al., 2015a,b). In the last decade, the field moved further into couples dealing with critical life events or severe illness (e.g., Badr et al., 2010; Revenson and Lepore, 2012; Rottmann et al., 2015; Falconier and Kuhn) or mental disorders (Bodenmann and Randall, 2013).
This Special Issue
The content of the 18 contributions, forming this special issue, ranges from contributions on specific mechanisms of dyadic coping (contribution by Pagani et al.; Zietlow et al.), different types of stressors (contributions by Canzi et al.; Fallahchai et al.; Molgora et al.), health or illness issues (contribution by Acquati and Kayser; Badr et al.; Lameiras et al.; Langer et al.; Martos et al.; Pow et al.; Rentscher; Sallay et al.; Switzer et al.; Tkachenko et al.; Van Schoors et al.), and novel methods such as dyadic coping in language use (Lau et al.) up to a review article (Falconier and Kuhn), integrating the conceptual and empirical literature on dyadic coping.
As demonstrated by this special issue, dyadic coping represents an inspiring field of research that spans many topics and disciplines (clinical psychology, health psychology, counseling, family science, developmental and personality psychology). Future studies are encouraged to further integrate multi-methods approaches (self-report, behavior coding, physiology, voice stress, pronoun use etc.) by using longitudinal designs (collection of data over several months or years). Another promising focus is examining overt dyadic coping during everyday interactions of couples at their home, as thus far, little is known about how often and how couples really cope together in everyday life, capturing life as lived (Bolger et al., 2003).
Another focus of dyadic coping research might further address parent-child dyadic coping interactions or adults caring for aging parents, where only few studies were conducted (Zemp et al., 2016).
Furthermore, we do not know much about how dyadic coping evolves over the lifespan of couples (e.g., Johnson et al., 2016), when and it what phase of a couple's life it is particularly relevant and what are long-term effects of dyadic coping on relationship functioning and health.
Finally, more studies on clinical interventions focusing on the improvement of dyadic coping skills, such as the Couples Coping Enhancement Training (CCET) by Bodenmann and Shantinath (2004) or TOGETER by Falconier (2015) are needed. However, current research by Randall and Totenhagen shows promise in this area based on their research with sexual minority individuals experiencing stress due to their marginalized status (Randall et al., 2017a,b; Totenhagen et al., 2018).
All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.
Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Bodenmann, G. (2005). “Dyadic coping and its significance for marital functioning,” in Couples Coping with Stress: Emerging Perspectives on Dyadic Coping, eds T. A. Revenson, K. Kayser, and G. Bodenmann (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association), 33–49. doi: 10.1037/11031-002
Bodenmann, G., Randall, A. K., and Falconier, M. K. (2016). “The systemic transactional model (STM),” in Couples Coping with Stress: A cross-cultural Perspective, eds M. K. Falconier, A. K. Randall, and Guy Bodenmann (New York, NY: Routledge), 5–22.
Bodenmann, G., and Shantinath, S. D. (2004). The Couples Coping Enhancement Training (CCET): a new approach to prevention of marital distress based upon stress and coping. Fam. Relat. 53, 477–484. doi: 10.1111/j.0197-6664.2004.00056.x
Falconier, M. K. (2015). Together–A couples' program to improve communication, coping, and financial management skills: development and initial pilot-testing. J. Marital Fam. Ther. 41, 236–250. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12052
Falconier, M. K., Nussbeck, F., Bodenmann, G., Schneider, H., and Bradbury, T. (2015b). Stress from daily hassles in couples: its effects on intradyadic stress, relationship satisfaction, and physical and psychological well-being. J. Marital Fam. Ther. 41, 221–235. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12073
Hilpert, P., Randall, A. K., Sorokowski, P., Atkins, D. C., Sorokowska, A., Ahmadi, K., et al. (2016). The associations of dyadic coping and relationship satisfaction vary between and within nations: a 35-nation study. Front. Psychol. 7:1106. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01106
Kuhn, R., Bradbury, T. N., Nussbeck, F. W., and Bodenmann, G. (2018). The power of listening: lending an ear to the partner during dyadic coping conversations. J. Fam. Psychol. 32, 762–772. doi: 10.1037/fam0000421
Leuchtmann, L., Zemp, M., Milek, A., Nussbeck, F. W., Brandstätter, V., and Bodenmann, G. (2018). Role of clarity of other's feelings for dyadic coping. Pers. Relatsh. 25, 38–49. doi: 10.1111/pere.12226
Randall, A. K., Tao, C., Totenhagen, C. J., Walsh, K. J., and Cooper, A. (2017a). Associations between sexual orientation discrimination and depression among same-sex couples: moderating effects of dyadic coping. J. Couple Relationship Ther. 4, 325–345. doi: 10.1080/15332691.2016.1253520
Randall, A. K., Totenhagen, C. J., Walsh, K. J., Adams, C., and Tao, C. (2017b). Coping with workplace minority stress: associations between dyadic coping and anxiety among women in same-sex relationships. J. Lesbian Stud. 21, 70–87. doi: 10.1080/10894160.2016.1142353
Revenson, T. A., Kayser, K., and Bodenmann, G. (eds.). (2005). Couples Coping With Stress: Emerging Perspectives on Dyadic Coping. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi: 10.1037/11031-000
Revenson, T. A., and Lepore, S. J. (2012). “Coping in social context,” in Handbook of Health Psychology, 2nd Edn., eds A. Baum, T. A. Revenson, and J. E. Singer (New York, NY: Psychology Press), 193–217.
Rottmann, N., Hansen, D. G., Larsen, P. V., Nicolaisen, A., Flyger, H., Johansen, C., et al. (2015). Dyadic coping within couples dealing with breast cancer: a longitudinal, population-based study. Health Psychol. 34:486. doi: 10.1037/hea0000218
Totenhagen, C. J., Randall, A. K., and Lloyd, K. (2018). Stress and relationship functioning in same-sex couples: the vulnerability of internalized homophobia. Fam. Relat. 67, 399–413. doi: 10.1111/fare.12311
Keywords: dyadic coping, couple support, spousal support, social support, emotion co-regulation
Citation: Bodenmann G, Falconier MK and Randall AK (2019) Editorial: Dyadic Coping. Front. Psychol. 10:1498. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01498
Received: 14 May 2019; Accepted: 13 June 2019;
Published: 27 June 2019.
Edited by:Gianluca Castelnuovo, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Italy
Reviewed by:Juan C. Melendez, University of Valencia, Spain
Copyright © 2019 Bodenmann, Falconier and Randall. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Guy Bodenmann, firstname.lastname@example.org