Associations between power, stress, and dominance in romantic relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic: Examining curvilinear and within-person effects

Abriana M. Gresham, Brett J. Peters, Gery C. Karantzas, Linda D. Cameron, Jeffry A. Simpson, Ana M. DiGiovanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two key processes in romantic relationships—power and dominance—can contribute to relationship disruption, but the association between these variables is complex. Elucidating the association between power and dominance during the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly important given the economic, social, and health-related stressors that pose a risk to relationship health. We examined associations between power, stress, and dominance by recruiting 1813 participants to complete an initial online survey at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were contacted 10 and 22 months later to complete follow-up surveys. Results revealed two main effects: individuals who had greater relationship power and experienced more COVID-19-related stressors than other people engaged in more dominance behaviors. A significant curvilinear effect revealed that at low levels of power, power was not associated with dominance behaviors. However, once power surpassed low levels, individuals with more power engaged in more dominance behaviors. Finally, people engaged in more dominance behaviors when they experienced more power and stress compared to their own average (i.e., within-person effects) during the pandemic. Implications for theories of power, dominance, and relationship disruption and distress are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12856
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Volume17
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Social and Personality Psychology Compass published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • curvilinear effects
  • dominance
  • intimate relationships
  • power
  • stress
  • within-person processes

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