Coping with unfulfilled standards in dating relationships : drawing upon personal and relationship resources
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Research suggests that romantic relationships can be particularly distressing when relationship standards are not fulfilled (Baucom, Epstein, Rankin, & Burnett, 1996). Discovering the many possible coping strategies used by partners in dating relationships is one way in understanding how people deal with unfulfilled standards. The second way in understanding how people cope with unfulfilled standards is to begin exploring the coping resources that individuals draw upon in such times of stress. This two-study investigation was conducted to explore the coping strategies people used when reacting to unfulfilled standards. In the first study, 26 coping strategies were generated. Then, in the second study, the results revealed a ten-factor solution: punishing, clarifying, reframing, self-disparaging, modeling, exiting, seeking social support, escaping, distancing, and using humor. It was discovered that each of these sets of coping strategies was linked to two personal resources, relationship locus of control and self-esteem. In addition, it was viii found that each of these sets of coping strategies was associated with three relationship resources: satisfaction, closeness, and commitment.