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9 - Stress in Social Relationships: Coping and Adaptation across the Life Span

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2009

Frieder R. Lang
Affiliation:
Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany
Karen L. Fingerman
Affiliation:
Purdue University, Indiana
Karen Rook
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085
Dara Sorkin
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085
Laura Zettel
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085
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Summary

Social relationships are an important source of support and companionship, but they can be a source of considerable frustration and disappointment as well. Stress in important social relationships has been found to detract from emotional and physical health, but coping responses may mitigate (or exacerbate) these adverse effects. We examine how people cope with two broad categories of interpersonal stress – conflict and loss – and discuss the implications of coping goals for understanding the nature and effectiveness of coping responses. We also consider some of the ways in which the process of adapting to relationship tensions and losses may vary across the life span and suggest directions for future research.

Social relationships are an important source of support and companionship throughout the life span, and empirical evidence amply demonstrates that involvement in satisfying social relationships is associated with enhanced emotional and physical health (Rook, 1998). How people respond to the frustrations and disappointments they experience in their social relationships may affect the resulting toll on health and well-being. Relatively little work has investigated the nature or effectiveness of people's responses to stressors in their relationships with members of their social networks. In this chapter, House, Umberson, & Landis, 1988).

Howpeople respond to the frustrations and disappointments they experience in their social relationships may affect the resulting toll on health and well-being.

Type
Chapter
Information
Growing Together
Personal Relationships Across the Life Span
, pp. 210 - 239
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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  • Stress in Social Relationships: Coping and Adaptation across the Life Span
    • By Karen Rook, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085, Dara Sorkin, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085, Laura Zettel, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085
  • Frieder R. Lang, Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany, Karen L. Fingerman, Purdue University, Indiana
  • Book: Growing Together
  • Online publication: 02 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499852.009
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  • Stress in Social Relationships: Coping and Adaptation across the Life Span
    • By Karen Rook, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085, Dara Sorkin, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085, Laura Zettel, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085
  • Frieder R. Lang, Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany, Karen L. Fingerman, Purdue University, Indiana
  • Book: Growing Together
  • Online publication: 02 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499852.009
Available formats
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  • Stress in Social Relationships: Coping and Adaptation across the Life Span
    • By Karen Rook, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085, Dara Sorkin, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085, Laura Zettel, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, 3340 Social Ecology II, Irvine, CA 92697-7085
  • Frieder R. Lang, Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany, Karen L. Fingerman, Purdue University, Indiana
  • Book: Growing Together
  • Online publication: 02 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499852.009
Available formats
×