OnePlusOne Research and Policy Digest – August 2014
OnePlusOne’s monthly digest of the latest research and policy updates from the field of families and relationships.
Topics covered this month include the results of The Way We Are Now, one of the biggest relationship surveys of its kind; new updates on sex and relationships education in schools; and the first published statistics on same sex marriage in the UK.
Research and statistics
This meta-analysis of six studies demonstrates the association between trait emotional intelligence and romantic relationship satisfaction. The association is evident between an individual’s emotional intelligence and their own relationship satisfaction, as well as the level of satisfaction expressed by their partner. The study sets a precedent for future research into the possibility of interventions around increasing emotional intelligence to boost satisfaction in romantic relationships.
One of the largest surveys of its kind, The Way We Are Now presents a representative survey of over 5,000 people in the UK, offering an insight into home lives, working lives, social lives and sex lives. The study gives a new perspective on relationships with partners, families, friends and colleagues and explores the connections between them. The report also looks at the link between relationships and wellbeing and highlights the importance of nurturing and investing in our relationships.
The Cost of a Child in 2014, published by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), shows that working families earning the minimum wage are 18% short of the basic amount needed for a minimum standard of living. The data gives an insight to the costs of raising a child and how this has risen disproportionately to wage increases, leading to full time working families struggling to meet basic needs.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published the first ever set of statistics on marriage of same sex couples for England and Wales, covering the first two quarters of 2014. The Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 made provision for the marriage of same sex couples in England and Wales, either in a civil ceremony or on religious premises (provided that the religious organisation agrees), with the first same sex marriages taking place on 29 March 2014.
Policy and practice
The Home Office has launched a consultation on strengthening the law on domestic abuse by explicitly stating that it covers coercive and controlling behaviour as well as physical harm. This consultation seeks views on whether the current law on domestic abuse needs to be strengthened to offer better protection to victims. This consultation is specifically focused on whether we should create a specific offence that captures patterns of coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate relationships, in line with the Government’s non-statutory definition of domestic abuse. The consultation closing date is 15 October 2014.
Sexual health charity FPA has launched a primary school resource to help pupils aged five to 11 stay safe both in real life and online situations. Against a backdrop of increasing pressure on the Government to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory in schools, experts at the charity have created Growing up with Yasmine and Tom to cover topics including the potential dangers of social networks and sexting. The programme includes discussions to challenge stereotypes around gender and sexual orientation.
Children and families’ social workers will have to pass a knowledge test in future to show that they understand the full range of responsibilities connected to the role. Isabelle Trowler, the chief social worker, has launched a new Knowledge and Skills statement for child and family social work, laying out what social workers need to know. The statement has been released to coincide with the Department for Education’s new ‘gold standard’ for approved child and family practitioner status. New social workers applying for the standard will henceforth be required to pass a knowledge test based on the new statement.
The Liberal Democrats have announced manifesto plans for a new ‘Curriculum for Life’ that would make Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) compulsory in all state-funded schools, including academies and free schools. Under the plans, children would be guaranteed access to age appropriate sex and relationship education and other valuable life skills. Compulsory PSHE lessons have been strongly resisted by Conservatives in the coalition government.
Christine R. Schwartz and Hongyun Han (2014), American Sociological Review 79 (4): 605-629
Gurit E. Birnbaum, Tsachi Ein-Dor, Harry T. Reis and Noam Segal (2014), Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, doi: 10.1177 /July 25, 2014
Jakob F. Jensen and Amy J. Rauer (2014), Personal Relationships 21 (2), doi: 10.1111/pere. 12042
Maria Cancian, Daniel R. Meyer, Patricia R. Brown and Steven T. Cook (2014), Demography, 51 (4): 1381-1396
Wolfgang Frimmel, Martin Halla and Rudolf Winter-Ebmer (2014), Demography, 51 (4): 1357-1379
David B. King, Anita DeLongis (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, 28 (4): 460-469
Keith Hillman, psychology24.org (2014)
Doss, Brian D.; Cicila, Larisa N.; Hsueh, Annie C.; Morrison, Kristen R.; Carhart, Kathryn (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, 28(4): 483-494
Whitton, Sarah W.; Kuryluk, Amanda D (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, 28(4): 571-576
Kouros C.D., Papp L.M., Goeke-Morey M.C. and Cummings E.M (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, 28 (3): 315-25
Susan D. Boon, Sarah J Watkins and Rowan A Sciban (2014), Personal Relationships, doi: 10.1111/pere.12044
Lavner, Justin A.; Karney, Benjamin R.; Bradbury, Thomas N. (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, doi: 10.1037/a0037752
Altenburger, Lauren E.; Schoppe-Sullivan, Sarah J.; Lang, Sarah N.; Bower, Daniel J.; Kamp Dush, Claire M. (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, 28(4): 495-504
Jay Fagan (2014), Journal of Family Issues, 35 (11): 1415-1439
Smith Slep, Amy M.; Foran, Heather M.; Heyman, Richard E. (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, 28 (4): 470-482
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