Mom Psych

Couples Issues

Anger in Disputes is More About the Climate of the Marriage than the Heat of the Moment

Three Perfectionist Thoughts That Can Hurt Your Family Life

Feeling Tired? 'Social Jetlag' Poses Obesity Health Hazard

Debunking the Parenting Wars

Family Life Study Reveals Key Events That Can Trigger Eating Disorders

Worrying Can Impact Interpersonal Relationships, Study Finds

On Feminists, Attachment Parents, Tiger Moms and Wise French Mothers. Oh, and Dads

Aunt Psych's Blog


48-hour afterglow increases pair bonding


A 48-Hour Sexual 'Afterglow' Helps to Bond Partners over Time

March 20, 2017—Sex plays a central role in reproduction, and it can be pleasurable, but new findings suggest that it may serve an additional purpose: bonding partners together. A study of newlywed couples, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicates that partners experience a sexual 'afterglow' that lasts for up to two days, and this afterglow is linked with relationship quality over the long term.
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Females Seeking a Sex Partner Can Tell Whether Males Experienced Stress During Adolescence


Surprise: Females prefer males who have overcome stress over those who have never experienced stress—and over those who succumbed to stress . . .

January 5, 2017—Sexual preference is influenced by males' adolescent social stress history and social status, according to a research team including Nicole Cameron, assistant professor of psychology at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
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When You Don't Feel Valued in a Relationship, Sleep Suffers

August 17, 2016—We spend up to one-third of our life asleep, but not everyone sleeps well. For couples, it turns out how well you think your partner understands and cares for you is linked to how well you sleep. The results are published in Social Personality and Psychological Science.

"Our findings show that individuals with responsive partners experience lower anxiety and arousal, which in turn improves their sleep quality," says lead author Dr. Emre Selçuk, a developmental and social psychologist at Middle East Technical University in Turkey.
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Study: Words Can Deceive, but Tone of Voice Cannot


Voice tone analyses of therapy sessions accurately predict whether relationships will improve

November 23, 2015—A new computer algorithm can predict whether you and your spouse will have an improved or worsened relationship based on the tone of voice that you use when speaking to each other with nearly 79 percent accuracy.

In fact, the algorithm did a better job of predicting marital success of couples with serious marital issues than descriptions of the therapy sessions provided by relationship experts. The research was published in Proceedings of Interspeech on September 6, 2015.
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The Power of Thank You: Research Links Gratitude to Positive Marital Outcomes


October 21, 2015—A key ingredient to improving couples' marriages might just be gratitude, according to new University of Georgia research. The study was recently published in the journal Personal Relationships.

"We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last," said study co-author Ted Futris, an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
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Research on Attractiveness and Mating Challenges Some Commonly-Held Beliefs


Researchers look at what people find 'desirable' and 'essential' in a long-term partner based on 2 of the largest national studies of mate preferences ever conducted

September 16, 2015—Chapman University has published research on what people find "desirable" and "essential" in a long-term partner based on two of the largest national studies of mate preferences ever conducted. This research supports the long-held belief that people with desirable traits have a stronger "bargaining hand" and can be more selective when choosing romantic partners, but it also challenges other commonly held mating beliefs.
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To Email or Not to Email? For Those in Love, It's Better than Leaving a Voice Message

September 1, 2015—In her hit single, Carly Rae Jepsen may have sung, "Here's my number, so call me maybe." But according to a new research study from Indiana University, she might be more successful in finding love if she asked him to send her an email.

The research, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, suggests that, in this digital age, an email can be more effective in expressing romantic feelings than leaving a voicemail message.
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Comparing Your Partner to Someone Else's? Find Yours Comes up Short?


University of Toronto psychologists explain what happens when people compare their partner to someone else's

TORONTO; July 21, 2015—When Julie compares her husband George to her friend's husband Sam, she can't help but notice that Sam is better at helping his children with homework. But rather than be upset about George's shortcomings in the children's homework arena, Julie reasons that since she enjoys doing homework with their children, it's not that important that George do it. What Julie has just done is protect her partner (and their relationship!) from the negative implications of her own comparison. But not all members of a couple engage in these justifying explanations of their partner's behaviours or characteristics.
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Marriage More Likely to End in Divorce When Wives Get Sick, According to ISU Study

AMES, IA; March 4, 2015—Countless couples have recited the words, 'in sickness and in health' on their wedding day with the intention of honoring those vows. But as it turns out, that may be easier said than done.
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Men Tend to Be More Narcissistic than Women

BUFFALO, NY; March 4, 2015—With three decades of data from more than 475,000 participants, a new study on narcissism from the University at Buffalo School of Management reveals that men, on average, are more narcissistic than women. Forthcoming in the journal Psychological Bulletin, the study compiled 31 years of narcissism research and found that men consistently scored higher in narcissism across multiple generations and regardless of age.
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The Neural Basis of 'Being in the Mood'


Researchers discover neurons that combine social information with hormonal state in female mice.

January 11, 2015—What determines receptivity or rejection towards potential sexual partners? For people, there are many factors that play a part, appearance, culture, age, are all taken into account. But what part does the internal state of the individual play?
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Withdrawal or Expecting Your Lover to Mind-Read Hurts Relationships, but in Different Ways

January 8, 2015—When you have a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you withdraw like a turtle into its shell? Or perhaps you expect your partner to be a mind reader about what ticks you off?
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Chapman University Publishes Research on Jealousy


Impact of sexual vs. emotional infidelity

ORANGE, CA; January 7, 2015—In the largest study to date on infidelity, Chapman University has learned men and women are different when it comes to feeling jealous. In a poll of nearly 64,000 Americans this study provides the first large-scale examination of gender and sexual orientation differences in response to potential sexual versus emotional infidelity in U.S. adults.
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A Wife’s Happiness is More Crucial than Her Husband’s in Keeping Marriage on Track


Rutgers Study Finds Research offers insight into link between marital quality and well-being later in life

September 12, 2014—When it comes to a happy marriage, a new Rutgers study finds that the more content the wife is with the long-term union, the happier the husband is with his life no matter how he feels about their nuptials.
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Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

August 21, 2014—Once a cheater, always a cheater? The adage might be true, suggests a University of Denver study.
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Study: Bigger Weddings, Fewer Partners, Less 'Sliding,' Better Marriages

August 19, 2014—The more people who attend your wedding to share in the launch of your marriage, the better the chances you will be happily married years down the road. And, somewhat counter-intuitively, the more relationships you had prior to your marriage, the less likely you are to report a high-quality marriage.
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Eye Movements Reveal Difference between Love and Lust

July 17, 2014—Soul singer Betty Everett once proclaimed, “If you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss.” But a new study by University of Chicago researchers suggests the difference between true love and mere lust might be in the eyes after all.
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With Distance Comes Greater Wisdom, Research Finds

June 9, 2014—If you're faced with a troubling personal dilemma, such as a cheating spouse, you are more likely to think wisely about it if you consider it as an observer would, says a study led by a professor at the University of Waterloo.
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When Newlyweds Believe in Sharing Household Chores, Follow-through Is Everything

URBANA, IL; May 7, 2014—Of all the starry-eyed just-married couples you know, which are likely to stay the happiest? A University of Illinois study says chances for bliss are highest when husband and wife both believe in divvying up the household labor equally. But that happiness won't last long if one partner is perceived as not carrying their fair share of the load.
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Study Links Domestic Abuse to Mental Health Problems in New Mothers

April 14, 2014—A new study shows that domestic abuse is closely linked to postpartum mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in mothers. The research also found that specific types of abuse are associated with specific mental health problems. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.
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There's No Faking It: Your Sexual Partner Knows If You're Really Satisfied

April 10, 2014—There is no point faking it in bed because chances are your sexual partner will be able to tell. A study by researchers at the University of Waterloo found that men and women are equally perceptive of their partners' levels of sexual satisfaction.
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Husband's Health and Attitude Loom Large for Happy Long-Term Marriages

MARCH 13, 2014— A husband’s agreeable personality and good health appear crucial to preventing conflict among older couples who have been together a long time, according to a study from University of Chicago researchers.
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Couples, Pay Attention to Your Relationship Work Ethic

URBANA, IL; January 19, 2014—Is a date with your partner as important to you as a meeting at work? A University of Illinois study recommends that couples develop a relationship work ethic that rivals—or at least equal—their professional work ethic.
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Marriage's 'Haves' and 'Have Nots'


Changing expectations and rising inequality make today's best marriages better than ever, while undermining today's average marriages

EVANSTON, IL; February 14, 2014—Today Americans are looking to their marriages to fulfill different goals than in the past—and although the fulfillment of these goals requires especially large investments of time and energy in the marital relationship, on average Americans are actually making smaller investments in their marital relationship than in the past, according to new research from Northwestern University to be published in the journal Psychological Inquiry.
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Intimate Partner Violence and Female Veterans

BOSTON; February 12, 2014—Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health concern for all, however women who experience IPV are more likely to sustain injury and report adverse health consequences. An expanding body of research suggests that experience of IPV is common in women veterans (WV), particularly those who access Veterans Health Administration (VA) services.
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Keep Romance Alive with Double Dates


And other ways perceptions influence relationships

Austin; February 10, 2014—Going on a double date may be more effective at reigniting passion in your own relationship than the classic candlelit dinner for two. According to new research, striking up a friendship with another couple in which you discuss personal details of your life will bring you closer to your own partner.
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Don't Let Rocky Past Relations with Parents Spoil Your Romance

February 6, 2014—University of Alberta relationship researcher Matt Johnson has some advice for anybody who's had rocky relations with their parents while growing up: don't let it spill over into your current romantic partnership.
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Follow Your Gut down the Aisle, New Study Says


Newlyweds know on subconscious level whether marriage will be unhappy

TALLAHASSEE, FL; November 28, 2013—Although newlyweds may not be completely aware of it, they may know whether their march down the aisle will result in wedded bliss or an unhappy marriage, according to new study led by a Florida State University researcher.
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Divorced People More Likely to Die from Preventable Accidents than Married People

HOUSTON, TX; October 30, 2013—Divorced people are more likely to die from preventable accidents than married counterparts, according to a new study from sociologists at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania. The study also found that single people and those with low educational attainment are at greater risk for accidental death.
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Wedded Bliss or Blues? Scientists Link DNA to Marital Satisfaction

Berkeley, CA; October 7, 2013—What makes some people more prone to wedded bliss or sorrow than others? Researchers at UC Berkeley and Northwestern University have found a major clue in our DNA. A gene involved in the regulation of serotonin can predict how much our emotions affect our relationships, according to a new study that may be the first to link genetics, emotions, and marital satisfaction. The study was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley.
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You Say She's Just a Friend, But Your Voice Says Differently

Reading, PA; Sept. 26, 2013—Think your partner is cheating? His or her voice may be a dead giveaway. New research by Albright College associate professor of psychology Susan Hughes, Ph.D., has found that men and women alter their voices when speaking to lovers versus friends and that such variations can potentially be used to detect infidelity. “It’s not just that we change the sound of our voice, but that others can easily perceive those changes,” said Hughes, an expert in evolutionary psychology and voice perception.
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Your Spouse's Voice is Easier to Hear—and Easier to Ignore

August 29, 2013—With so many other competing voices, having a conversation on a bustling subway or at a crowded cocktail party takes a great deal of concentration. New research suggests that the familiar voice of a spouse stands out against other voices, helping to sharpen auditory perception and making it easier to focus on one voice at a time.
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Men Feel Worse about Themselves When Female Partners Succeed


Men's subconscious self-esteem related to female partner's successes and failures

WASHINGTON; August 29, 2013—Deep down, men may not bask in the glory of their successful wives or girlfriends. While this is not true of women, men's subconscious self-esteem may be bruised when their spouse or girlfriend excels, says a study published by the American Psychological Association.
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Long-Distance Relationships Can Outdo Local Ones


Long-distance couples disclose more and don't pick at partners' behaviors

Washington, DC; July 18, 2013—The long-distance relationship has plagued college students and people relocated for work for ages. These relationships are seen as destined to fail, but are they actually creating stronger bonds than a geographically closer relationship? A recent paper published in the Journal of Communication found that people in long-distance relationships often have stronger bonds from more constant, and deeper, communication than normal relationships.
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Are College Student Hook-Ups Linked to Anxiety and Depression?

June 28, 2013—As narratives of “hook-up” culture take center stage in popular media, behavioral researchers are starting to ask what psychological consequences, if any, may be in store for young adults who engage in casual sex.
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Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Not Getting Adequate Mental Health Services

COLUMBIA, MO; June 10, 2013—Although many abused women suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or depression, they are not receiving needed mental health services, a University of Missouri researcher found.

“More than half of the women participating in our study suffered from depression, PTSD or both illnesses,” said Mansoo Yu, an assistant professor of social work in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. “However, most of the survivors had not used mental health services in the past year, even though they reported having access to the services. Social stigmas, shame, privacy concerns, health care costs and lack of information may prevent survivors from getting the help they need.”
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Happily Married Couples Consider Themselves Healthier

COLUMBIA, MO, February 13, 2013—Previous research suggests that married people have better mental and physical health than their unmarried peers and are less likely to develop chronic conditions than their widowed or divorced counterparts. But a recent  University of Missouri study helps fill out the picture: people who have happy marriages are more likely to rate their health as better as they age; aging adults whose physical health is declining could especially benefit from improving their marriages.

Christine Proulx, an assistant professor in the MU Department of Human Development and Family Studies, examined the long-term relationship between self-rated health and marital quality. She found that, in all stages of marriage, positive or negative relationships affect the individuals’ health. Spouses should be aware that how they treat each other and how happy they are in their marriages affect both partners’ health, and they should think more about their personal relationships when thinking holistically about their health, she said.

Proulx suggests that health professionals consider patients’ personal relationships when designing health promotion programs or treatment plans.
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Anxiety about Relationships May Lower Immunity,
Increase Vulnerability to Illness

COLUMBUS, OH, February 11, 2013 – Concerns and anxieties about one’s close relationships appear to function as a chronic stressor that can compromise immunity, according to new research.

Married partners who were more anxiously attached produced higher levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that is released in response to stress, and had fewer T cells—important components of the immune system’s defense against infection—than did participants who were less anxiously attached.

“Everyone has these types of concerns now and again in their relationships, but a high level of attachment anxiety refers to people who have these worries fairly constantly in most of their relationships,” said Lisa Jaremka, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in Ohio State University’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR).
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Women Happier in Relationships When Men Feel Their Pain

WASHINGTON, APA: March 5, 2012 —Men like to know when their wife or girlfriend is happy while women really want the man in their life to know when they are upset, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The study involved a diverse sample of couples and found that men’s and women’s perceptions of their significant other’s empathy, and their abilities to tell when the other is happy or upset, are linked to relationship satisfaction in distinctive ways,
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Is Silence Golden? Maybe Not So Much

While it seems obvious that expressions of gratitude would increase positive feelings in the partner receiving gratitude, it is not quite as self-evident that there would also be benefits for the expresser. Nevertheless, whether in romantic partners or friends, the researchers found evidence that the sense of communal strength was heightened for those who voiced gratitude—at least in the sample of college students studied.
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