Effects of partner responsiveness on health and well-being: love in times of covid

Thu, 03/03/2022 - 09:22
Love in times of covid

Effects of partner responsiveness on health and well-being: love in times of covid

María Alonso-Ferres, a researcher at CIMCYC, carried out a study on the influence and effects of a relationship on health or well-being. To do this, it introduces the concept of perceived partner responsiveness (PPR).

Perceived partner responsiveness (PPR) is when people feel understood, cared for and appreciated by their partner, and is considered one of the principles in the study of close relationships. Previous studies indicate that PPR may benefit physical health and well-being, but how PPR is associated with personal benefits is less clear.

Perceived control can help understand this association. With this cognitive mechanism, two competitive models (moderation and mediation) were tested, in which it was judged whether perceived control might explain how PPR impacts health, well-being and mortality in a 20-year longitudinal study of adults. PRR was found to have a long-term positive association with health, well-being, and mortality via increased perceived control and, in turn, decreased negative affect reactivity to daily stressors.

Subsequently and related to this, the Love in the Time of COVID project was carried out, which was born in the context of the 2020 quarantine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to understand the challenges individuals and couples faced during this period.

57 countries participated in this project, with the Granada group being in charge of representing Spain. The project studied how COVID-19 can affect couple relationships, verifying that the population felt great stress, financial tension and loneliness due to the pandemic, and these problems were transferred to the relationship. Thus, people reported less satisfaction in the relationship. However, this depended on the perceived partner responsiveness. People who rated their partners as very responsive to their needs and feelings, while still feeling stress, seemed to be better protected from negative effects.

Finally, just as feeling understood and cared for during a stressful experience is valuable, feeling that your partner cares about you when good things happen is also beneficial to the relationship.


-Maria Alonso-Ferres: maalfe@ugr.es

Full references

  • Alonso-Ferres, M., Imami, L., & Slatcher, R. B. (2019). Untangling the effects of partner responsiveness on health and well-being: The role of perceived control. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37(4), 1150–1171. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407519884726
  • Balzarini, R. N., Muise, A., Zoppolat, G., di Bartolomeo, A., Rodrigues, D. L., Alonso-Ferres, M., Urganci, B., Debrot, A., Pichayayothin, N. B., Dharma, C., Chi, P., Karremans, J., Schoebi, D., & Slatcher, R. B. (2020). Love in the Time of Covid: Perceived Partner Responsiveness Buffers People from Lower Relationship Quality Associated with Covid-Related Stressors. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/e3fh4