Emerging research suggests couples’ abilities to bounce back from conflict may depend on what both partners were like as infants.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, is an outgrowth of studies on how couples fight.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been following a cohort of people since before they were born, in the mid-1970s. When the subjects were about 20 years old, they visited the lab with their romantic partners for testing.
This included a conflict discussion, when they were asked to talk about an issue they disagreed on, followed by a “cool-down” period, when the couples spent a few minutes talking about something they saw eye to eye about.
Although the cool-down period was included just to make sure the researchers weren’t sending the couples away angry, Jessica E. Salvatore, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota, noticed some interesting things about the couples’ communication styles during this recovery time.
“As part of another project where we looked at how couples fight, I would often catch a few minutes of this cool-down period,” she said. Salvatore noticed that some couples had intense conflicts, but made a perfectly clean transition to chatting about something they agreed on. In other couples, one or both partners seemed “stuck” on the conflict discussion and couldn’t move on.
Salvatore and her co-researchers embarked on a closer look at what happens after a conflict supposedly ends. By looking back at observations of the participants and their caregivers from the 1970s, when they were between 12 and 18 months old, the researchers discovered a link between the couples’ conflict recovery behaviors and the quality of their attachment relationship with their caregivers.
People who were more securely attached to their caregivers as infants were better at recovering from conflict 20 years later. This means that if your caregiver is 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 researchers also found that there is hope for people who were insecurely attached as infants.
“We found that people who were insecurely attached as infants but whose adult romantic partners recover well from conflict are likely to stay together,” remarked Salvatore.
“If one person can lead this process of recovering from conflict, it may buffer the other person and the relationship.”
The health of a relationship can be salvaged if one person can quickly disengage from conflict and avoid dwelling on negative thoughts and emotions.
This is some of the first evidence that romantic partners play an important role in buffering the potential harmful effects from poor experiences earlier in life.
“That, to us, was the most exciting finding,” Salvatore said. “There’s something about the important people later in our lives that changes the consequences of what happened earlier.”
President Obama believes that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and will no longer defend the 15-year-old law in federal court, the Justice Department announced today.
The decision, which stunned and delighted gay rights activists, means that the administration will withdraw its defense of ongoing suits in two federal appeals circuits and will leave it to Congress to defend the law against those challenges. It will remain a party to the lawsuits. The law itself remains in effect.
DOMA, signed by President Clinton in 1995, allows states not to recognize same-sex marriages preformed in other states and provides a federal definition for “marriage” that exempts same-sex couples.
The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, “with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia,” said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.
To feed all those mouths, “we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000,” said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
OR we can put cyanide pills in prisoners’ cereal, quit being “humaitarian” by “saving” starving folk, let Darwins theory of survival of the fittest take it’s course and punch every woman who says she wants more than two children DIRECTLY IN THE BABY MAKER.