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Natalya MaiselInterdisciplinary Relationship Science Program
University of California, Los Angeles
My current research focuses on an interesting puzzle in the research literature on social support. One of the most important functions of close relationships is that partners provide support for one another in times of stress (known as social support). However, the effects of social support are not straightforward. Although the perception that support is available should it become needed is linked to positive effects on health and well-being, the effect of enacted support behaviors on these important outcomes tends to be neutral or even negative. My research attempts to address this discrepancy in the literature by examining what specific types of supportive behaviors are helpful, under which circumstances, and for whom.
Additionally, the literature on social support in the past has focused almost exclusively on how people respond to their partners' problems and stressors. However, recent work has pointed to the importance of capitalization, which is the process of sharing one's personal positive events with others (Gable, Reis, Impett, & Asher, 2004). Therefore, my current work includes creating a behavioral coding guide for examining videotapes of couples sharing both positive events (e.g., winning an award) and negative events (e.g., having a problem at work) with each other. Additionally, my research interests include examining motivational processes in relationships and conducting research on same-sex couples.
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