Confiding About Problems in Marriage and Long-Term Committed Relationships: A National Study
This recent study, published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy considers who people turn to and about what issues. The study finds that 73% of the sample (1000 US adults, aged 25-70) have been a confidant to someone with a problem in their marriage or long term committed relationship.
People most commonly turned to their friends, followed by their siblings and discussed a wide range of issues from everyday complaints to serious issues such as infidelity and divorce. The study found that non-judgemental emotionally supportive listening and perspective-giving are hallmarks of helpful behaviours by a confidant. By contrast, too much advice, talking about oneself and criticising the spouse/ partner are experienced as the least helpful responses.
Although friends and families are often confided in, they do not always have the skills to advise people most appropriately, particularly if the confider is coming with a serious issue. It may be important to increase the skills of natural confidants to increase the capacity of informal networks to support relationships.
To read the full report click here.