Significant othering

Kevin Lewis

December 15, 2018

Sex differences in responses to emotional and sexual infidelity in dating relationships
Mandy Walsh, Murray Millar & Shane Westfall
Journal of Individual Differences, forthcoming

This study examined the influence of the type of partner infidelity (sexual vs. emotional) and sex of participant on actual mate abandonment and mate retention behaviors. It was predicted that men would engage in significantly more mate abandonment behaviors after experiencing a physical infidelity and that women would engage in significantly more mate abandonment behaviors after experiencing an emotional infidelity. To test this hypothesis, men and women who had either experienced a sexual or emotional infidelity were recruited and were asked to complete several measures designed to indicate their behavioral responses to the infidelity. The men and women in the study showed the predicted asymmetrical pattern of behavioral choices in response to sexual and emotional infidelity.

Punishment of hypothetical polygamous marriages
David Widman, Melvin Philip & Glenn Geher
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Parental investment theory suggests that differential reproductive investment has led the sexes to different mating strategies. In humans, men have the lesser investment and therefore tend to desire greater numbers of mates relative to women. One result of this could be that men would be more tolerant of polygamous marriages. The present study examined this hypothesis. Participants read 4 hypothetical vignettes describing individuals who were convicted of polygamy. The vignettes varied in the sex of the perpetrator and whether the marriage resulted in children or not. Participants were asked to suggest a sentence duration and to assess the severity of that sentence, as well as the severity of the transgression to the spouses, the institution of marriage, and in general. Participants also completed several scales relevant to reproduction. The results indicated that women assigned greater sentence durations and perceived the transgressions toward the institution of marriage and in general as more severe than men. In addition, the presence of children increased the troublesomeness of the polygamy. Finally, life history and the troublesomeness of the polygamy were positively correlated, but only in men. This is consistent with the male strategy of dads with slow life histories and cads with fast life histories. The lack of correlation in women may be an indication of smaller variation in reproduction relative to men, regardless of life history.

Better Together? Interracial Relationships and Depressive Symptoms
Jaclyn Wong & Andrew Penner
Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, December 2018

Previous research shows that married and cohabiting individuals are happier and enjoy greater levels of psychological well-being than single individuals. However, most of this research relies on data from intraracial - mostly white - couples, and less is known about the emotional health outcomes of individuals in interracial partnerships. This study uses fixed-effects regression to examine depressive symptoms among those transitioning into intraracial and interracial relationships in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Estimating models separately by gender and race, our analyses show that although whites in same-race relationships enjoy the psychological health benefits traditionally associated with union formation, a more complex pattern characterizes these benefits for nonwhites and those in interracial relationships. These findings suggest that although Americans enter increasingly diverse romantic relationships, union formation might not equally benefit all.

Economic hardship, positive affect, and marital processes over middle years
Kandauda (K.A.S.) Wickrama & Catherine Walker O'Neal
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Family economic hardship (FEH) can negatively impact the quality of marital relationships, and research has shown that increased distress of husbands and wives at least partially mediates this association. Research has shown that FEH not only increases feelings of distress but also depletes individuals' positive feelings. The mediating role of positive affect (PA), however, has received less attention. The current study used data from the Iowa Midlife Transitions Project with a sample of 370 married couples providing data from 1991 to 2001. Latent growth curves were estimated for families' economic hardship and spouses' PA. Increasing FEH over time generally resulted in the depletion of individuals' PA after controlling for each spouse's negative personality characteristics. These growth curves were included in a structural equation model ultimately assessing spouses' marital quality (MQ). PA trajectories were related to hostile couple context, which was associated with reduced MQ. Findings emphasize the long-term consequences of FEH across middle adulthood on subsequent marital processes through both intra-individual (i.e., PA) and inter-individual (i.e., marital hostility) processes, suggesting that effective prevention and intervention efforts must account for influences at multiple levels and over extended periods of time on MQ. Furthermore, these findings support efforts aiming to strengthen positive psychological resources, rather than reducing psychological distress, as a means to improve MQ.

Choosing a meal to increase your appeal: How relationship status, sexual orientation, dining partner sex, and attractiveness impact nutritional choices in social dining scenarios
Michael Baker, Andie Strickland & Nicole Fox
Appetite, February 2019, Pages 262-269

The impact of social context on dining choices was investigated via an online experiment. Participants were assigned to different hypothetical dining partners of the same or opposite sex and varying levels of attractiveness (or no partner in a control condition) and were then asked to indicate what foods they would order if they were dining with this individual. Following a food selection task, the attractiveness of the hypothetical partner was rated, followed by the measurement of personal characteristics such as current relationship status, participant sex, and sexual orientation. Results revealed that among heterosexual participants, relationship status, partner sex, and partner attractiveness interacted to influence the total number of calories ordered. Heterosexual male and female participants who were not currently in a relationship and had been assigned to an opposite-sex dining partner tended to order fewer calories the more attractive that they perceived their partner to be. The findings of this study build upon previous research on social influences on dining behavior by examining the roles of relationship status and dining partner attractiveness on nutritional decision-making.

A Randomized, Waiting-List-Controlled Study Shows That Brief, Mindfulness-Based Psychological Interventions Are Effective for Treatment of Women's Low Sexual Desire
Annika Gunst et al.
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

We evaluated two treatment conditions for low sexual desire in women: one where participants were administered a mindfulness-based treatment protocol and another with exercises focusing on scheduled sex and motivations for sex in addition to the aforementioned protocol. Seventy women (Mage 39.2, SD = 9.8) with complaints of low sexual desire were randomly allocated to one of these treatment conditions or a waiting-list condition. Participants attended four individual sessions and completed homework exercises. Questionnaire data were collected before and after treatment and at follow-ups three and six months later. Primary outcomes were the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) desire subdomain and the Sexual Interest and Desire Inventory-Female (SIDI-F). Secondary outcomes were the Female Sexual Distress Scale-Revised (FSDS-R), the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS), the Perceived Relationship Quality Components Inventory (PRQC), and the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Women in both treatment conditions reported significantly higher sexual desire (FSFI desire d = 0.75 to 1.06) immediately following treatment, compared to the waiting list. Improvements were sustained at follow-up, accompanied by improvements in some secondary outcomes. We found no significant differences between the treatment conditions in terms of treatment effectiveness. Our study adds to the literature suggesting that mindfulness-based treatments are suitable options for treating low sexual desire in women.


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