Researcher Alan W. Barton, a professor of human development, said that individuals who feel appreciated by their partners have better-functioning relationships, are more resilient to internal and external stressors when appreciation is expressed and Both in the long term, said researcher Alan W. Barton and the Family Study at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Over a 15-month period, Barton’s team examined the effects that perceived gratitude — expressing appreciation for one’s partner — and perceived gratitude — feeling valued and appreciated by one’s partner — on the relationships of 316 African American couples. was.
“This study was really inspired to understand gratitude in relationships and if it can protect couples from challenges and difficulties, whether it’s negative communication or broader factors like financial stress,” Barton said.
“Most of the earlier research looked at the relational effects of expressing gratitude, but one could argue that feeling appreciated by one’s partner is also important. And we tested both to see if one compared the other. was more influential for couple relationships in the U.S.,” Barton said.
Most of the people in the study were middle-aged and lived in small communities in rural Georgia. While most participants were employed, about 65% of couples had a combined income that was less than 150% of the federal poverty level and could be classified as working poor, Barton said.
The total number of children living with the participants ranged from one to eight, with an average of three. Married couples had been together for about 10 years at the start of the study, while unmarried couples had been cohabiting for about seven years. Has been published in Journal of Social and Personal RelationshipsThe current study builds on a 2015 study led by Barton that examined the effects of financial distress on marital quality. The study, published in the journal personal relationshipOnly perceived gratitude is considered and predominantly white, middle-aged and more highly educated couples are involved.
say thank you for building a positive relationship
“In the current study, we wanted to examine the effects of both perceived and expressed gratitude and whether perceived gratitude works similarly with a different demographic population,” he said.
Over a 15-month period, the couples were surveyed three times about their arguing and conflict resolution, their expression of gratitude toward their partner, and their level of perceived gratitude from their partner. Participants also reported their current levels of financial stress.
Respondents rated their satisfaction with their relationship, which ranged from completely happy to very unhappy; the level of stability of the relationship, as measured by thoughts or discussions about breaking up; and their belief in their future together.
Respondents completed the survey again eight and 15 months after the initial assessment so the team could measure the effects of both forms of gratitude over time.
“Our main hypothesis was that perceived gratitude from one’s partner would have what we call a stress-buffering effect—that it would protect couples from the decline in relationship quality that typically occurs when you have negative communication or when you have high levels of financial stress,” Barton said. “Expressed gratitude hadn’t really been observed before, so we didn’t have any hypotheses with it – our work was more exploratory.”
The team found that individuals with higher levels of expressed and perceived gratitude in the sample were more satisfied with their relationships. These individuals had more confidence in its future and reported less volatility, such as discussions or thoughts about breaking up.
When the team looked at the protective effects, they found that higher levels of perceived gratitude buffered against the stresses of both financial stress and ineffective arguing, and that these couples experienced “stronger increases in relationship satisfaction or confidence, or increased instability.” It didn’t show up as the performance we usually see” with these kinds of tensions, Barton said.
“Even if couples’ negative communication increased—provided they still felt appreciated by their partner—the quality of their relationship did not decline over time,” he said. “This becomes really important because not every couple is going to be great at communication, especially when things get heated or intense, or hit a home run with resolving conflicts.”
Barton noted that the protective effect of perceived gratitude applied both in the moment — when the respondent felt appreciated by their partner — and across time.
However, no protective effect was observed for high levels of expressed gratitude.
While there’s no one surefire way to make your partner feel appreciated, Barton suggests: “Be sure to give compliments that are honest and genuine. and ask your partner if there are any areas in which they feel their efforts are not being appreciated or acknowledged start expressing appreciation For those.”Life Style