Spouse who recovers from spat aids partner

Feb. 13, 2011 at 8:31 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Decades of marriage research show that what happens during a disagreement matters, but what happens after a conflict also matters, U.S. researchers say.

The study of young adults, published online ahead of print in the journal Psychological Science, found a marriage partner who recovers well after a fight and doesn't let remnants of the conflict spill over or leak into other parts of the relationship, benefits the other partner too.

"What we show is that recovering from conflict well predicts higher satisfaction and more favorable relationship perceptions. You perceive the relationship more positively," lead researcher Jessica Salvatore of the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development's Institute of Child Development says in a statement.

"If I'm good at recovering from conflict, my husband will benefit and be more satisfied with our relationship."

The findings show infant attachment security plays a role in how someone recovers from conflict as adults, Salvatore says.

"Having a caregiver who was more in-tune and responsive to your emotional needs as an infant predicts better conflict recovery 20 years later," Salvatore says. "If your caregiver was better at regulating your negative emotions as an infant, you tend to do a better job of regulating your own negative emotions in the moments following a conflict as an adult."

The study by Salvatore and co-authors Sally Kuo, Ryan Steele, Jeffry Simpson and W. Andrew Collins examined the relationships of 73 young adults, who had been studied since birth, and their romantic partners.

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