Methods for Studying Processes of Support and Coping in Dyadic Relationships

Conference on Modeling Developmental Processes in Ecological Context

Tempe, Arizona

March 2004

Conference abstract by Niall Bolger & Pat Shrout, New York University

We will describe a program of research that uses diaries to study how couples cope with stressful experiences on a daily basis. Important issues that arise in this work is (i) how frequently within a day to assess coping and support in order capture important causal dynamics, (ii) how to incorporate the independent perspectives of dyad members in understanding these dynamics, and (iii) how to model the statistical non-independence of dyad members both as a constant effect (e.g., due to selection on stable partner characteristics), and as a transient effect (e.g., as a result of daily dyadic interaction and common daily experiences). We will illustrate these issues as they relate to daily supportive interactions and their consequences for coping with everyday stressors and with major life events.