Stress, Dyadic Coping, and Social Support: Moving toward Integration

Cutrona, Carolyn
Bodenmann, Guy
Randall, Ashley
Clavél, Frederick
Johnson, Melissa
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Many events that cause distress in the lives of individuals who are part of a couple affect both individuals, because of their shared concerns, resources, goals, and social ties. Two approaches have been articulated for how couples respond when one or both members need assistance, encouragement, or comfort: the social support approach (e.g., Cutrona, 1996; Pasch & Bradbury, 1998; Sullivan & Davila, 2010) and the dyadic coping approach (e.g., Bodenmann, 1995;Coyne & Fiske, 1992; Delangis & O'Brien, 1990; Revenson, 1994). While these two approaches have considerable overlap, they originated in two different research traditions and evolved relatively independently. The social support approach emerged From research on the effects of stressful IiFe events on health and how these effects were moderated by social resources (e.g., Kaplan, Cassel, & Gore, 1977). Although early studies focused on all sources of support within individuals' social network, over time, interest developedin the special importance of support from an intimate partner (e.g., Acitelli, 1996; Brown & Harris, 1978; Cutrona, 1996). The dyadic coping approach built on the literature that addressed how individuals cope with daily hassles and stressful life events (e.g., Lazarus & Folkman, 1984)and expanded the coping model to include both members of the couple. An entire chapter of the current volume is devoted to a description of new developments in social support research (Feeney & Collins, Chapter 21, this volume). The current chapter focuses primarily on new research in dyadic coping and ideas about how the social support and dyadic coping approaches to stress in couples can be usefully integrated.


This chapter is published as Cutrona, C. E., Bodenmann, G., Randall, A. K., Clavel, F. & Johnson, M. (2018). Stress, dyadic coping and social support: Moving toward integration. In D. Perlman & A. Vangelisti (Eds.) Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships (2nd edition). Campbridge, England: Cambridge University Press. For more information please click here.