This study examined confiding patterns among the adult population of the U.S. about problems in marriages and long-term committed relationships. Specific areas of interest were the prevalence, nature of the relationships, types of problems confided about and most and least helpful confidant responses. An Internet panel was used to collect data from a nationally representative sample of 1000 U.S. adults aged 25-70. Results showed that 73.3% of U.S. adults reported ever having been a confidant to someone with a couple relationship problem, while 62.6% had themselves confided in someone about a relationship problem. Women were more likely to be confidants than men, as were individuals with more education. The most common confiding relationship was between friends, followed by siblings. Confidants had a wide range of marital problems brought them, including common issues such as disagreements over money along with serious issues such as infidelity and divorce. The most helpful confidant responses were reported to be listening and giving emotional support; least helpful responses were talking too much about him or herself and being critical and judgmental. Professionals who work with families and couples can use this information to better understand their client's support networks and the potential influence of confiding relationships within a couple's social network.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2014. Major: Family Social Science. Advisor: William Doherty. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 47 pages.
Confiding about Problems in Marriage and Long-Term Committed Relationships: A National Study.
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