Wanic and Kulik (2011) discuss research addressing links between romantic relationships and health, with a focus on gender differences in response to relationship conflict among couples residing in the U.S. Their subordination-reactivity hypothesis proposes that women’s subordinate role in relationships renders them more vulnerable to relationship conflict and less likely to reap the health benefits of relationships than men. They contrast their hypothesis with the interpersonal orientation hypothesis and provide convincing evidence for further examination of the importance of status in relationships. We add to their commentary by noting the potential importance of considering research examining men’s vulnerability when faced with relationship dissolution, personality traits (e.g., dominance) in addition to social roles within relationships, and by describing preliminary research addressing gay and lesbian partnerships. We conclude by imploring researchers to remain tolerant of ambiguity in this area of research as new findings continue to reveal the significant but complex associations between romantic relationship experiences and health for both men and women.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: May 11, 2011
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