Couples’ co-regulation dynamics as a function of perceived partner dyadic coping

Ashley K. Randall, Chun Tao, Gabriel Leon, Nicholas D. Duran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Perceptions of partners’ dyadic coping (DC) behaviors are associated with lower stress and higher relationship well-being. Albeit well-documented, these associations have predominately relied on cross-sectional data, overlooking temporal associations during conversations of mutual stress. Based on the systemic transactional model of DC [Bodenmann, G. (2005). Dyadic coping and its significance for marital functioning. In T. Revenson, K. Kayser, & G. Bodenmann (Eds.), Couples coping with stress: Emerging perspectives on dyadic coping (pp. 33–50). American Psychological Association.], we hypothesized that co-regulatory dynamics would be displayed for couples who generally perceive high positive DC, whereas co-dysregulatory dynamics would be displayed for couples who generally perceive high negative DC. Design and methods: Using video-prompted second-by-second recall of stress experience from 42 different-gender romantic couples, this study examined whether couples’ co-regulation dynamics were moderated by perceived partner DC behaviors, measured at baseline. Results: On average, partners’ stress ratings were coupled; females tended to coregulate males’ stress and both partners’ stress dampened over time. Perceived negative DC moderated the coregulation of stress, suggesting that females unidirectionally coregulated males’ stress when (1) negative DC was low in both partners and (2) when females reported lower negative DC than males. However, coregulation did not occur when (1) negative DC was high in both partners and (2) females reported higher negative DC than males. Conclusions: Implications for utilizing methods sensitive to temporal interpersonal emotion dynamics are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-611
Number of pages15
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021


  • Co-regulation
  • coupled-oscillator model
  • dyadic coping
  • mutual stress
  • romantic couples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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