Advertisement

Resilience in Couples: A View of the Landscape

  • Karen SkerrettEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines couple resilience from a relational, integrative and process perspective. Relational resilience is conceptualized as a dynamic process qualitatively different than the sum of individual partner resilience. It is hypothesized to reflect the “we-ness” of a couple: the ongoing interplay between self, other, and relationship awareness. Key components are suggested to be (1) self/other and relationship awareness and the development of empathy and respect; (2) mutual vulnerability; (3) the joint creation of meaning, (4) skill sets to support relational positivity, and (5) the reintegration of relational wisdom gleaned from dealing with relational challenges. Implications for future research, relationship enhancement and therapeutic work with couples are suggested.

Keywords

“We”-coping Relational resilience Adaptation Mutuality 

References

  1. Alea, N., & Bluck, S. (2007). I’ll keep you in mind: The intimacy function of autobiographical memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 1091–1111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alea, N., & Vick, S. (2010). The first sight of love: Relationship defining memories and marital satisfaction across adulthood. Memory, 18(7), 730–742.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkinson, B. (2005). Emotional intelligence in couples therapy: Advances from neurobiology and the science of intimate relationships. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  4. Atkinson, B., Atkinson, L., Kutz, P., Lata, J., Lata, K., Szekely, J., et al. (2005). Rewiring neurological states in couple therapy: Advances from affective neuroscience. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 24, 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Badenoch, B. (2008). Being a brain-wise therapist. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  6. Bader, E., & Pearson, P. (2000). Tell me no lies. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  7. Beitin, B. K., & Allen, K. R. (2005). Resilience in Arab American couples after September 11, 2001: A systems perspective. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 31, 251–267.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Ben-David, A., & Lavee, Y. (1996). Between war and peace: Interactional patterns of couples under prolonged uncertainty. American Journal of Family Therapy, 24, 345–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Black, K., & Lobo, M. (2008). A conceptual review of family resilience factors. Journal of Family Nursing, 14(33), 33–55.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Blagov, S., & Singer, J. A. (2004). Four dimensions of self-defining memories (specificity, meaning, content and affect) and their relationships to self restraint, distress and repressive defensiveness. Journal of Personality, 72(3), 481–511.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Blieszner, R. (2007). Challenges and resilience among later-life couples. Generations, 31(3), 6–9.Google Scholar
  12. Bonanno, G. (2005). Clarifying and extending the construct of adult resilience. American Psychologist, 60, 265–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bonnanno, G. (2009). The other side of sadness: What the new science of bereavement tells us about life after loss. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  14. Bowen, M. (1978). Family therapy in clinical practice. New York: Aronson.Google Scholar
  15. Cacioppo, J., Reis, H., & Zautra, A. (2011). Social resilience. American Psychologist, 66(1), 43–51.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Catalino, L., & Fredrickson, B. (2011). A Tuesday in the life of a flourisher: The role of positive emotional reactivity in optimal mental health. Emotion, 11(14), 938–950.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Cheung, M. (2008). Resilience of older immigrant couples. Journal of Counseling and Relationship Therapy: Innovations in Clinical and Educational Interventions, 7(1), 19–38.Google Scholar
  18. Cicchetti, D., & Curtis, W. (Eds.). (2007). A multilevel approach to resilience [special issue]. Development and Psychopathology, 19(3).Google Scholar
  19. Cosolino, L. J. (2006). The neuroscience of human relationships: Attachment and the developing social brain. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  20. Curtis, W., & Cicchetti, D. (2003). Moving research on resilience into the 21st century: Theoretical and methodological considerations in examining the biological contribution to resilience. Development and Psychopathology, 19(3), 773–810.Google Scholar
  21. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subject well being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Fehr, B., Sprecher, S., & Underwood, L. (2009). The science of compassionate love: Theory, research and applications. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  23. Fergus, K. (2011). The rupture and repair of the couple’s communal body with prostate cancer. Families, Systems & Health, 29(2), 95–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fishbane, M. D. (2007). Wired to connect: Neuroscience, relationships, and therapy. Family Process, 46, 395–412.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Fishbane, M. D. (2010). Relational empowerment in couple therapy. In A. S. Gurman (Ed.), Clinical casebook of couple therapy (pp. 208–231). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  26. Fishbane, M. D. (2013). Loving with the brain in mind. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  27. Fosha, D., Siegel, D., & Solomon, M. (2009). The healing power of emotion. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  28. Fredrickson, B. (2006). The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. In M. Csikszentmihalyi & I. Csikszentmihalyi (Eds.), A life worth living (pp. 85–103). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Fredrickson, B. (2013). Love 2.0. New York: Hudson St. Press; The Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  30. Fredrickson, B., & Branigan, C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires. Cognition and Emotion, 19, 313–332.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Fredrickson, B., & Joiner, T. (2002). Positive emotions trigger upward spirals toward emotional well-being. Psychological Science, 13, 172–175.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Giorgi, A. (1985). The descriptive phenomenological method in psychology. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Gordon, A., Impett, E., Kogan, A., Oneis, C., & Kelter, D. (2012). To have and to hold: Gratitude promotes relationship maintenance in intimate bonds. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(2), 257–274.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (2005). The art and science of love: A workshop for couples [DVD]. Seattle, WA: The Gottman Institute.Google Scholar
  35. Hansson, R., & Carpenter, B. (1994). Relationships in old age. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  36. Hawkins, D. (2005). Unhappily ever after: Effects of long-term, low quality marriage on well-being. Social Forces, 84(1), 451–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Janoff-Bulman, R., & Yopyk, D. (2004). Random outcomes and valued commitments: Existential dilemmas and the paradox of meaning. In J. Greenberg, S. Koole, & T. Pyszcnski (Eds.), Handbook of experimental existential psychology (pp. 122–138). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  38. Janssen, R., VanRegenmortel, T., & Abma, T. (2011). Identifying sources of strength: Resilience from the perspective of older people receiving long-term community care. European Journal of Aging, 8, 145–156.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Johnson, S. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love. New York: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  40. Jordan, J. (1992). Relational resilience (Stone Center colloquium series). Wellesley, MA: Stone Center.Google Scholar
  41. Jordan, J., & Carlson, J. (Eds.). (2013). Creating connection: A relational-cultural approach with couples. New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  42. Jordan, J., Kaplan, A., Miller, J., Stiver, I., & Surrey, J. (1991). Women’s growth in connection: Writings from the Stone Center. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  43. Kayser, K., Watson, L., & Andrade, J. (2007). Cancer as a “we-disease”: Examining the process of coping from a relational perspective. Families, Systems & Health, 25, 404–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kelley, T. M. (2005). Natural resilience and innate mental health. American Psychologist, 60, 205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kiecolt-Glaser, J., & Newton, T. (2001). Marriage and health: His and hers. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 472–503.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. King, L., Hicks, J., Krull, J., & Del Gaiso, A. (2006). Positive affect and the experience of meaning in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 179–196.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Lepore, S., & Revenson, T. (2006). Resilience and post-traumatic growth: Recovery, resistance and reconfiguration. In L. Calhoun & R. Tedeschi (Eds.), Handbook of post-traumatic growth: Research and practice (pp. 24–46). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  48. Levine, S., Laufer, A., Stein, E., Hamama-Raz, Y., & Solomon, Z. (2009). Examining relationships between resilience and posttraumatic growth. Journal of Traumatic Studies, 22(4), 282–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Luthar, S. (2006). Resilience in development: A synthesis of research across 5 decades. In D. Cicchetti & First Initial Cohen (Eds.), Developmental Psychopathology, 3(2), 739–795. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  50. Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The how of happiness. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  51. Maisel, N., & Gable, S. (2009). For richer…in good times…and in health: Positive processes in relationships. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Masten, A., Cutuli, J., Herbers, J., & Reed, M. G. (2009). Resilience in development. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Masten, A., & Obradovic, J. (2007). Disaster preparation and recovery: Lessons from research on resilience in human development. Ecology & Society, 13(1), 9.Google Scholar
  54. Masten, A., & Wright, M. (2012). Resilience over the life span: Developmental perspectives on resistance, recovery and transformation. In J. Reich, A. Zautra, & J. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  55. McAdams, D. (2001). The psychology of life stories. Review of General Psychology, 5, 100–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McAdams, D., Diamond, A., & de St. Aubin, E. (1997). Stories of commitment: The psychosocial construction of generative lives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 678–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. McCubbin, H., & McCubbin, M. (1988). Typologies of resilient families: Emerging roles of social class and ethnicity. Family Relations, 37(3), 247–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Neff, K., & Brody, J. (2011). Stress resilience in early marriage: Can practice make perfect? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1050–1067.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Neff, K., & Karney, B. (2009). Compassionate love in early marriage. In B. Fehr, S. Sprecher, & L. Underwood (Eds.), The science of compassionate love: Theory, research and applications. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  60. Niederhoffer, K., & Pennebaker, J. (2009). Sharing one’s story: On the benefits of writing or talking about emotional experience. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (pp. 621–633). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Patterson, J. M. (2002). Integrating family resilience and family stress theory. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 64, 349–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Reid, D., Dalton, E., Laderoute, K., Doell, F., & Nguyen, T. (2006). Therapeutically induced changes in couple identity: The role of we-ness and interpersonal processing in relationship satisfaction. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 132(3), 241–284.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Richardson, G. (2002). The metatheory of resilience and resiliency. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(3), 307–321.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57(3), 316–331.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Seligman, M., & Fowler, R. (2011). Comprehensive soldier fitness and the future of psychology. American Psychologist, 66(1), 82–86.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Siegel, D. (2006). An interpersonal neurobiology approach to psychotherapy: Awareness, mirror neurons and neural plasticity in the development of well-being. Psychiatric Annals, 36(4), 247–258.Google Scholar
  67. Singer, J. A., & Skerrett, K. (2014). Positive couples therapy: Using ‘we-stories to enhance resilience. New York: Routledge Press.Google Scholar
  68. Skerrett, K. (1998). The couple experience of breast cancer. Families, Systems & Health, 16, 281–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Skerrett, K. (2003). Couple dialogues with illness: Expanding the “we.”. Families, Systems & Health, 16, 281–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Skerrett, K. (2004). Moving toward “we”: Promise and peril. In W. Rosen & M. Walker (Eds.), How connections heal (pp. 128–149). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  71. Skerrett, K. (2010). The generative marriage: Helping couples invest in one another’s growth. Family Process, 49, 503–516.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Skerrett, K. (2013). Resilient relationships: Cultivating the healing potential of couple stories. In J. Jordan & J. Carlson (Eds.), Creating connection: A relational-cultural approach with couples (pp. 45–60). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  73. Solomon, M., & Tatkin, S. (2011). Love and war. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  74. Surrey, J., Shem, S., & Bergman, S. (1998). We have to talk: Healing dialogues between women and men. Rydalmere, NSW, Australia: Hodder Press.Google Scholar
  75. Ungar, M., & Lerner, R. (2008). Resilience and positive development across the life span [introduction to a special issue]. Research in Human Development, 5(3), 135–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Walsh, F. (2011). Strengthening family resilience (4th ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  77. Yorgason, J., Piercy, F., & Piercy, S. (2007). Acquired hearing impairment in older couple relationships: An exploration of couple resilience processes. Journal of Aging Studies, 21, 215–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Affiliate, The Family Institute/Center for Applied Psychological Study at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Personalised recommendations