Daily and long‐term consequences of support seeking in Chinese couples: Between‐person differences and within‐person processes

Feng Xu, Peter Hilpert, Guy Bodenmann
Published Online:
13 Dec 2019

Additional Options

It is widely accepted that support‐seeking behaviour is culture‐specific, such that Asians are less likely to seek support when stressed compared with Westerners. However, mounting evidence is based on the vignette methodology or the cross‐sectional survey and utilised students sample. Little is known about how such behaviour manifests in real life and incurs relational consequences. Moreover, psychological theories predict both differences in support‐seeking behaviour between persons and the variability of such behaviour within persons. The current study aims to explore between‐and within‐person associations between support seeking and relationship satisfaction in Chinese couples. Eighty‐four Chinese couples reported their daily stressors, support seeking behaviour, and relationship satisfaction every evening for 7 days and overall relationship satisfaction before the diary study and 1 year later. We found that support seeking matters in Asian couples: On days when couples sought more support, they would be more satisfied with their relationship. Notably, no negative associations between couples' own support seeking and partners' relationship satisfaction were found. This study advances our understanding of general and temporal support‐seeking processes in Asian couples in the course of everyday life and over time. Results entail important theoretical and practical implications.

© International Union of Psychological Science