Will you be there for me when things go right? Supportive responses to positive event disclosures

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Nov;91(5):904-17. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.5.904.


Close relationship partners often share successes and triumphs with one another, but this experience is rarely the focus of empirical study. In this study, 79 dating couples completed measures of relationship well-being and then participated in videotaped interactions in which they took turns discussing recent positive and negative events. Disclosers rated how understood, validated, and cared for they felt in each discussion, and outside observers coded responders' behavior. Both self-report data and observational codes showed that 2 months later, responses to positive event discussions were more closely related to relationship well-being and break-up than were responses to negative event discussions. The results are discussed in terms of the recurrent, but often overlooked, role that positive emotional exchanges play in building relationship resources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Perception / physiology
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support*
  • Videotape Recording / methods