Advertisement

Happy Together: The Development of Dyadic Functioning and Individual Well-Being Among Heterosexual Couples Through a Positive Psychological Intervention

  • Pascal AntoineEmail author
  • Eva Andreotti
  • Emilie Constant
Chapter

Abstract

Distress and discord within couples lead to several impairments, including physical and psychological deterioration, and dramatically reduce life satisfaction levels. This chapter raises the following question: Is it possible to maintain and improve a dyadic bond, individual well-being and life satisfaction through a specific intervention? Although much literature has already addressed this issue via positive psychology interventions (PPIs) at the individual level, the involvement of couple dynamics is understudied. This chapter addresses the theoretical background and practical details of the implementation of a four-week theory-driven preventive self-help dyadic PPI called Couple+, which was adapted for heterosexual couples living in France. A preliminary study was conducted to assess the innovative multicomponent Couple+ intervention, which encompassed daily activities designed for the members of the dyad. The aim of Couple+ was to encourage romantic relationship development and maintenance by improving the couple’s functioning. The effect of this intervention was measured and compared with a control group on a waiting list. The preliminary results showed significant improvements in positive emotions, communication patterns, and dyadic adjustment. Considering Couple+ as a success in terms of feasibility and implementation, as well as both dyadic and individual outcomes, this study appears to be the first step toward the development of self-help positive psychology activities dedicated to improving the lives of couples.

Keywords

Emotion Couple Communication patterns Dyadic adjustment Self-help 

References

  1. Algoe, S. B., & Zhaoyang, R. (2016). Positive psychology in context: Effects of expressing gratitude in ongoing relationships depend on perceptions of enactor responsiveness. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(4), 399–415.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2015.1117131.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Antoine, P., Christophe, V., & Nandrino, J.-L. (2008). Échelle d’ajustement dyadique: Intérêts cliniques d’une révision et validation d’une version abrégée. L’Encéphale, 34(1), 38–46.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.encep.2006.12.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Antoine, P., Poinsot, R., & Congard, A. (2007). Évaluer le bien-être subjectif: la place des émotions dans les psychothérapies positives: Measuring subjective well-being: place of the emotions in positive psychotherapies. Journal de thérapie comportementale et cognitive, 17(4), 170–180.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1155-1704(07)78392-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. E. (2000). Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(2), 273–284.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.78.2.273.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Atkinson, B. J. (2013). Mindfulness training and the cultivation of secure, satisfying couple relationships. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2(2), 73–94.  https://doi.org/10.1037/cfp0000002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baucom, D. H., Hahlweg, K., Atkins, D. C., Engl, J., & Thurmaier, F. (2006). Long-term prediction of marital quality following a relationship education program: Being positive in a constructive way. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(3), 448–455.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3200.20.3.448.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Blais, M. R., Vallerand, R. J., Pelletier, L. G., & Brière, N. M. (1989). L’échelle de satisfaction de vie: Validation canadienne-française du « Satisfaction with Life Scale. » [The satisfaction scale: Canadian-French validation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale]. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, 21(2), 210–233. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0079854.
  8. Bodenmann, G., Hilpert, P., Nussbeck, F. W., & Bradbury, T. N. (2014). Enhancement of couples’ communication and dyadic coping by a self-directed approach: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(4), 580–591.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036356.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2013). Positive psychology interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. BMC public health, 13(1), 119.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-119.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Botella, C., Banos, R. M., & Guillen, V. (2017). Positive technologies for improving health and well-being. In C. Proctor (Éd.), Positive psychology interventions in practice (pp. 219–234). Cham: Springer International Publishing.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51787-2_13.
  11. Bryant, F. B., Smart, C. M., & King, S. P. (2005). Using the past to enhance the present: Boosting happiness through positive reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 227–260. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.wit.ie:2048/10.1007/s10902-005-3889-4.
  12. Coulter, K., & Malouff, J. M. (2013). Effects of an intervention designed to enhance romantic relationship excitement: A randomized-control trial. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2(1), 34–44.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction With Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71–75.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa4901_13.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Doss, B. D., Cicila, L. N., Georgia, E. J., Roddy, M. K., Nowlan, K. M., Benson, L. A., et al. (2016). A randomized controlled trial of the web-based our relationship program: Effects on relationship and individual functioning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 84(4), 285–296.  https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000063.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Updated thinking on positivity ratios. American Psychologist, 68(9), 814–822.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033584.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gable, S. L., Gonzaga, G. C., & Strachman, A. (2006). Will you be there for me when things go right? Supportive responses to positive event disclosures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(5), 904–917.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.91.5.904.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Gable, S. L., & Haidt, J. (2005). What (and why) is positive psychology? Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 103–110.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harris, R. (2010). ACT with love: Stop struggling, reconcile differences, and strengthen your relationship with acceptance and commitment therapy.Google Scholar
  19. Hilpert, P., Bodenmann, G., Nussbeck, F. W., & Bradbury, T. N. (2016). Improving personal happiness through couple intervention: A randomized controlled trial of a self-directed couple enhancement program. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(1), 213–237.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9591-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kauffman, C., & Silberman, J. (2009). Finding and fostering the positive in relationships: Positive interventions in couples therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 520–531.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20594.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Kazdin, A. E. (2007). Mediators and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy research. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 3(1), 1–27.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.3.022806.091432.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., & Wilson, S. J. (2017). Lovesick: How couples’ relationships influence health. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 13(1), 421–443.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032816-045111.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Laurenceau, J.-P., Barrett, L. F., & Pietromonaco, P. R. (1998). Intimacy as an interpersonal process: The importance of self-disclosure, partner disclosure, and perceived partner responsiveness in interpersonal exchanges. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(5), 1238–1251.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.74.5.1238.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Lecocq, A., & Antoine, P. (2014). Attitude face aux conflits et ajustement dyadique : validité du «Communication Pattern Questionnaire» . In V. Christophe, C., Ducro & P. Antoine (Eds.), Psychologie de la santé : Individu, Famille et Société (pp. 181–185). Lille: PUS.Google Scholar
  25. Lyubomirsky, S., & Layous, K. (2013). How do simple positive activities increase well-being? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22(1), 57–62.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721412469809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McAllister, S., Duncan, S. F., & Hawkins, A. J. (2012). Examining the early evidence for self-directed marriage and relationship education: A Meta-analytic study. Family Relations, 61(5), 742–755.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2012.00736.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Noller, P., & White, A. (1990). The validity of the communication patterns questionnaire. Psychological Assessment: A Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2(4), 478–482.  https://doi.org/10.1037/1040-3590.2.4.478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Péloquin, K., Brassard, A., Lafontaine, M.-F., & Shaver, P. R. (2014). Sexuality examined through the lens of attachment theory: Attachment, caregiving, and sexual satisfaction. The Journal of Sex Research, 51(5), 561–576.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2012.757281.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: the full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(1), 25–41.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-004-1278-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Quoidbach, J., Mikolajczak, M., & Gross, J. J. (2015). Positive interventions: An emotion regulation perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 141(3), 655–693.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038648.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Reis, H. T., Margaret, S. C., & John, G. H. (2004). Perceived partner responsiveness as an organizing construct in the study of intimacy and closeness. In D. J. Mashek & A. Aron (Eds.), Handbook of closeness and intimacy (pp. 201–225). Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  32. Reis, H. T., & Patrick, B. C. (1996). Attachment and intimacy: Component processes. In E. T. Higgins & A. W. Kruglanski (Éds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 523–563). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  33. Reis, H. T., & Shaver, P. (1988). Intimacy as an interpersonal process. Handbook of personal relationships, 24(3), 367–389.Google Scholar
  34. Robles, T. F., Slatcher, R. B., Trombello, J. M., & McGinn, M. M. (2014). Marital quality and health: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 140(1), 140–187.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031859.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Schueller, S. M., & Parks, A. C. (2012). Disseminating self-help: Positive psychology exercises in an online trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 14(3), e63.  https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.1850.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Seligman, M. (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. (Simon and Schuster). New York, NY.Google Scholar
  37. Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410–421.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: a practice-friendly meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 467–487.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20593.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Spanier, G. B. (1976). Measuring dyadic adjustment: New scales for assessing the quality of marriage and similar dyads. Journal of Marriage and Family, 38, 15–28.  https://doi.org/10.2307/350547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Thompson, R. B., Peura, C., & Gayton, W. F. (2015). Gender differences in the person-activity fit for positive psychology interventions. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(2), 179–183.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2014.927908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Umberson, D., & Kroeger, R. A. (2016). Gender, Marriage, and health for same-sex and different-sex couples: The future keeps arriving. In S. M. McHale, V. King, J. Van Hook, & A. Booth (Éds.), Gender and couple relationships (Vol. 6, pp. 189–213). Cham: Springer International Publishing.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-21635-5_12.
  42. Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 52(2), 69–81.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022511.
  43. Woods, S., Lambert, N., Brown, P., Fincham, F., & May, R. (2015). “I’m so excited for you!” How an enthusiastic responding intervention enhances close relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32(1), 24–40.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407514523545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Woodworth, R. J., O’Brien-Malone, A., Diamond, M. R., & Schüz, B. (2016). Happy Days: Positive psychology interventions effects on affect in an N-of-1 trial. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 16(1), 21–29.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijchp.2015.07.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pascal Antoine
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eva Andreotti
    • 1
  • Emilie Constant
    • 1
  1. 1.CNRS UMR 9193—SCALab—Sciences Cognitives et Sciences AffectivesUniv. LilleLilleFrance

Personalised recommendations