When "we" are stressed: A dyadic approach to coping with stressful events

Research output: Book/ReportBook

1 Citation (Scopus)


The couple, from its formation and throughout its life cycle, is faced with several sources of stress which could be daily stressors (minor stress; e.g., everyday family demands; neighborhood hassles) or critical transitions (major stress; e.g., the transition to parenthood, divorce, illness). Critical transitions can be normative (e.g., transition to parenthood) or non-normative (e.g., divorce, illness). Stressful events can involve one (i.e., individual stress) or both members of the couple (i.e., common stress). Although in the past stress and coping were considered as mere individual processes, it is now well recognized that, when stress and coping processes unfold within the couple relationship, a dyadic approach is essential. Even when only one individual is experiencing stress within a couple and communicates such stress to the partner, in fact, both partners are affected by the stressful circumstance and the stress can be considered dyadic (though indirectly). Overall, the success of couples in dealing with these stressors and adjusting to these critical transitions depends primarily on partners’ coping strategies. These strategies could be both at the individual level (i.e., individual coping) and at the dyadic level (i.e., dyadic coping). Specifically, dyadic coping is conceptualized as the interpersonal process of managing stressful events as a couple with the purpose of restoring the individual’s well-being as well as the couple’s relationship quality. In the last decades, a growing literature was devoted to explore how couples deal with different sources of stress. Overall, this literature has shown how dyadic coping is a crucial predictor of relationship quality, whereby positive dyadic coping is associated with couple satisfaction and adjustment over time, while negative dyadic coping is associated with couples’ distress. The present book is a collection of theoretical and empirical chapters focused on the relevance of a dyadic approach to couples' coping with stress. A dyadic perspective is evident in both the conceptualization of stress and coping and in the methodology (i.e., dyadic research design and dyadic analytical methods) presented in the different chapters of this book.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages212
ISBN (Print)978-1-53613-350-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • dyadic approach, stressful events, dyadic coping


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