Predictors of Comforting Communication in Romantic Relationships
Henningsen, David D.
Serewicz, Mary Claire Morr
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The ability to provide adequate comforting is valued in close relationships. As a valued commodity, the quality of the comforting that a person provides may be used to maintain equitable relationships or to balance rewards and costs in close relationships. We examined whether perceptions of equity in dating relationships predicts the quality of comforting communication. One hundred and fifteen college students reported their perceptions of equity in their relationships. In addition, they estimated the effort they would expend on comforting their partner in different situations and reported the verbal messages they would use to comfort their partners in a particular scenario. Although molecular measures of equity were significant predictors of comforting behavior, global measures were not. Support was found for the use of comforting communication as a maintenance and as a balancing mechanism. In addition, the effort that participants reported they would expend in comforting their partner did not mediate the association between equity and comforting quality.