Global and Molecular Equity as Predictors of Comforting Communication in Romantic Relationships

David Dryden Henningsen, Mary Claire Morr Serewicz, Christopher Carpenter


The ability to provide adequate comforting is valued in close relationships. As a valued commodity, the quality of comforting a person provides may be used to maintain or balance rewards and costs in close relationships. We examined whether perceptions of equity in dating relationships and the effort expended on comforting predict the quality of comforting communication. One hundred and fifteen college students reported their perceptions of equity in their relationships. In addition, they estimated the effort they would expend on comforting their partner in different situations and reported the verbal messages they would use to comfort their partners in a particular scenario. Although molecular measures of equity were significant predictors of comforting behavior, global measures were not. Support was found for the use of comforting communication as a maintenance and a balancing mechanism. In addition, the effort participants would exert in a major crisis was a significant predictor of comforting quality.

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