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Partners’ Stress Underestimations Lead to Women's Distress

Partners’ Stress Underestimations Lead to Women's Distress

Abstract

The authors examined how men's underestimation of the stress that their pregnant female partners reported influenced women's psychological distress and their sense that they were not supported. Participants included 68 pregnant inner-city women and their partners, among whom African Americans and European Americans were represented. Women who reported a greater number of stressful life events had increased depression if their partners did not report them as encountering these events. However, if their partners reported them as encountering a high number of stressful events, the otherwise negative impact of stress was buffered. Partners’ stress report had no appreciable effect when women reported a low number of stressful events. This partner underestimation effect was independent of the influence of women's report of social support.
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