Daily hassles and uplifts: A diary study on understanding relationship quality

Casey J. Totenhagen, Joyce Serido, Melissa A. Curran, Emily A. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


In this investigation, we use the Conservation of Resources (CoR) theory as a guide to examine how both uplifts and hassles are associated with positive (e.g., satisfaction, commitment) and negative (ambivalence, conflict) relational quality on a daily basis. In previous studies of hassles and uplifts, the focus has been primarily on negative outcomes at the individual level (e.g., affect). Here, we build on this previous research in examining both positive and negative events (i.e., uplifts and hassles) in associations with positive and negative relational qualities. Further, we focus on examining social and nonsocial events that are external to the relationship (i.e., do not involve the romantic partner) and how they are linked with relational qualities. Finally, we examine which patterns are confined to the same day and which carry over to subsequent days (i.e., lagged effects). Contrary to previous literature, we find that both social and nonsocial hassles are largely unrelated to relationship quality after accounting for the effects of social and nonsocial uplifts. In contrast, nonsocial uplifts bolster positive feelings about the relationship on that day. Results also show that hassles and uplifts may work together to explain relational commitment. Finally, we find that nonsocial uplifts experienced on one day are associated with trend-level declines in next day positive feelings about the relationship. Our findings suggest that preserving relationship quality through daily experiences is best achieved by equipping couples to recognize the benefits of uplifts to the relationship, especially uplifts that are nonsocial, in tandem with managing hassles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-728
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Conservation of resources
  • Daily diary study
  • Hassles
  • Relationship quality
  • Uplifts


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