IARR 2015 conference
Self-Regulation and Close Relationships

Keynote Speakers

 

Johan Karremans

Radboud University Nijmegen

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10 July 2015

9.00 a.m.

 

Executive control in close relationships

Johan Karremans

Why do romantic partners sometimes act in ways that potentially threaten relationship satisfaction and stability, even when strongly committed to the relationship? This talk discusses research that has addressed this question by examining the role of executive control. Our findings show that executive control plays a particularly important role in relationship functioning when partners are faced with dilemmas between acting on self-interest and acting on partner or relationship interest. Also, I will discuss recent findings indicating that executive control promotes prorelationship behavior primarily when highly committed to the partner, suggesting that motivation and regulatory ability interact to promote relationship maintenance acts. Do these findings imply that people low in executive control are ‘doomed’ to have bad relationships? If there is time left, I will discuss some recent findings suggesting that mindfulness training may be an antidote to a lack of self-regulation.

 

 

 

Nickola Overall

University of Auckland

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10 July 2015

5.05 p.m.

 

Dyadic Regulation in Close Relationships

Nickola Overall

Most research examining regulation processes in relationships considers how individuals regulate their own thoughts, emotions and behavior (self-regulation). However, the ways in which intimate partners regulate each other’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior (dyadic regulation) is also central to maintaining relationships. In this talk, I will discuss the importance of two forms of dyadic regulation. The first explores why and how people in relationships try to change each other and the consequences that ensue. The second examines how relationship partners can regulate the destructive emotional and behavioral reactions typically displayed by insecure individuals. To conclude, I will consider how a dyadic regulation perspective can advance understanding and push research in new directions.

 

 

Guy Bodenmann

Universität Zürich

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11 July 2015

9.00 a.m.

 

Dyadic coping: Origin and evolution of the concept

Guy Bodenmann

Originally the concept of dyadic coping was developed in the context of couples‘ stress management with daily hassles. An experimental study had revealed that couples’ communication was severely affected by the stress experience of the partners and deteriorated significantly under stress. The same study also indicated that some couples, however, the more satisfied ones dealt differently with the impact of the stressor and instead of engaging in dyadic conflict, they tried to understand each other and to deal together with the demands. A number of further studies showed that dyadic coping was a powerful predictor of relationship satisfaction, the developmental course of the relationship as well as of relationship stability. Underlying explaining mechanisms of this effect were assumed to be (a) the reduction of stress by joint efforts and by this means the alleviation of the negative impact of stress on couples’ functioning and (b) the experience of we-ness, intimacy and trust in those situations. Studies support both processes. It has been shown that dyadic coping helps the stressed partner to recover more quickly from external stress experience and findings also support the notion that dyadic coping covaries with a more intense feeling of we-ness. While some aspects of dyadic coping are comparable to spousal support in social support literature (e.g., supportive dyadic coping), the concept of joint dyadic coping and we-stress are unique to this approach. This aspect has further been developed in several recent studies and the concept of we-disease builds a promising bridge from the original concept of dyadic coping to dyadic coping in the context of chronic disease and cancer. Several studies support the utility of dyadic coping in this context and show that mental as well as physical illness is always a dyadic matter and needs to be addressed by both partners, within a dyadic coping framework.

 

 

 

 

Eli Finkel

Northwestern University

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Gráinne M. Fitzsimons

Duke University

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11 July 2015

4.50 p.m.

 

Transactive Goal Dynamics Theory

Eli Finkel & Gráinne M. Fitzsimons

Transactive goal dynamics theory conceptualizes two or more people as a single self-regulating system. The model consists of six tenets that describe the nature of goal interdependence, elucidate its emergence, discern when it will lead to positive goal outcomes during and after the relationship, and predict the consequences for the relationship. Both partners in a transactive system possess and pursue self-oriented, partner-oriented, and system-oriented goals, and all of these goals and pursuits are interdependent. According to the theory, relationship partners’ goals, pursuit, and outcomes affect each other in a densely interdependent network, ultimately becoming so tightly linked that the two partners are most accurately conceptualized as components within a single self-regulating system.