Experiencing A Natural Disaster Can Bring Couples Closer — But Only For A While

If you have a partner, how do you think your relationship would fare in the face of a natural disaster? Do you think it would bring you closer — or might the stresses make your relationship worse? 

Various studies have explored this, and their conclusions have been mixed. But virtually all have been hampered by a lack of key data: measures of relationship satisfaction actually taken before a disaster (rather than later recalled), to compare with measures of satisfaction afterwards. A new paper in Psychological Science now plugs this gap. Hannah Williamson at the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues report a remarkable study of 231 couples living in Harris County, Texas, using data collected before and after Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the region in August 2017. Continue reading →

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