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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Conventional wisdom on intimate processes within couples has tended to ignore the way those processes can be facilitated or constrained by circumstances outside the relationship. The goal of this chapter is to review developments over the last 15 years that have addressed this oversight by directly linking intimate processes within couples to the quality of their external demands and supports. Toward this end, the chapter is organized into four sections. The first section defines some of the common terms in this area of research, and describes historical and contemporary models that have guided most research on stress and relationships. The next section describes research over the past two decades that has addressed two pressing questions: (1) What are the mechanisms through which stress outside a relationship affects outcomes within it? (2) What are the characteristics and circumstances of couples that are more or less susceptible to the effects of stress? The third section offers several recommendations for the next generation of research on stress and relationships. A final conclusion offers a historical perspective, and draws out some implications of this work for government polices directed at relationships and families.

Keywords: couples, stress, marriage, intimacy, relationship maintenance, spillover, crossover

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