Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Personal, Relational, and Contextual Resources and Relationship Satisfaction in Same-Sex Couples

Title of Study:
Personal, Relational, and Contextual Resources and Relationship Satisfaction in Same-Sex Couples
Amber L. Pope, Christine E. Murray and A. Keith Mobley; University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The Family Journal, 18(2), 2010
What was the purpose of this research?
The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which personal, relational, and contextual resources affect positive relationship satisfaction with same-sex couples.
Who were the participants, and what were they asked to do?
This study’s 95 participants were individuals involved in same-sex intimate partnerships over the age of 18. Participants completed an on-line survey assessing their demographic backgrounds, the extent to which they received support from various personal, relationship, and contextual resources, and their levels of relationship satisfaction.
Major findings:
Participants that lived together with their partners reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction and more personal/relationship resources than those participants who were not living with their partners. Compared to heterosexual participants in previous studies, the participants in this study demonstrated greater variability in the perceived support they received from contextual resources, which may reflect that they have less support from their families-of-origin and seek support elsewhere. In addition, only relationship resources were found to contribute to relationship satisfaction, whereas previous studies with heterosexual participants suggested that both personal and relationship resources contributed to relationship satisfaction.
Major caveats:
The sample studied was out of convenience, which makes it difficult to apply the findings to persons outside of the study. In addition, all of the data were based on self-reported information, meaning that they could have been subject to participants wanting to respond in more socially desirable ways.
What does this research mean for counseling practice?
Counselors need to be aware that relationship resources can increase relationship satisfaction. Focusing on resources in counseling as opposed to deficits might help clients better meet their personal and relationship goals. In addition, counselors can focus on relationship resources that may contribute to the enhancement of both personal and contextual resources.

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