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OnePlusOne Research and Policy Digest – October 2014

By OnePlusOne, 05 November 2014 Behaviour change, Cohabitation, Marriage, Parenting, Poverty, Sex, Strengthening relationships

This month, OnePlusOne’s digest covers new statistics on long-term relationships and the use of counselling, plus the latest on relationship breakdowns and policy updates for mediation.

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Research and statistics

The science of love over time

70% of the adult British population is in a relationship at the moment, of which 46% are married. A new YouGov study of how these relationships develop over time reveals that if you still get butterflies in your tummy from a relationship more than a few years old, you are incredibly lucky. Overall, only 11% of people who are in a relationship would describe themselves as head over heels in love, while 49% say they are still definitely in love. One in five (21%) say they love their partner but their days of being ‘in love’ are over, and 11% say that the relationship has gained a more practical quality, leaving love behind.


Fewer Than 1 In 4 Couples Seeking Counselling To Save Broken Marriage

Research by the specialist Family and Divorce Law team at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, which has offices across the country found that while 37% of couples going through a rocky patch said they thought counselling would help, only 23% were actively seeking help. The survey of 2,000 people also revealed that on average couples sought counselling for four months with 12% saying it helped to save their marriage. However the stats also showed that gender played a part in the difference in attitudes to counselling with 45% of females believing that it would help save a relationship compared with just 28% of men.


Partnership dissolution: how does it affect income, employment and well-being?

How incomes, employment, housing, mental health and life satisfaction change following a partnership dissolution, using data from 18 waves of BHPS. The research confirms that women and children see living standards decline by more than men, on average, upon separation, but finds that the fall in living standards is much greater for those women and children formally in high-income households; it is also high for older women with non-dependent children. Research also finds that mental health and life satisfaction decline around separation, but both return quickly to pre-split levels at rates which are little related to post- split circumstances.


Early child care and child outcomes: the role of grandparents. Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study

This paper focuses on the impact of early grandparents’ care on child cognitive outcomes, in the short and medium term, using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (UK). Compared with children looked after in a formal care centre, children cared by grandparents (as well as parents) are better in naming objects, but worse in tests concerning basic concepts development, problem-solving, mathematical concepts and constructing ability. These results hide strong heterogeneities: on the one hand, the positive association between family care and child outcomes is stronger for children in more advantaged households; on the other hand, the negative association is significant only for children in more disadvantaged households. In order to assess a causal link between early care and child outcomes, the researchers employ panel methods and instrumental variables techniques. The results obtained confirm the cross section results.


Policy and practice

The Relationships Manifesto: Strengthening Relationships

The Relationships Manifesto: Strengthening Relationships sets out the Relationships Alliance’s vision for how couple, family and social relationships in Britain can be strengthened and how relationship distress and breakdown can be reduced over the next Parliament. The document sets out the importance of relationships and relationship support as well as the barriers which prevent people accessing the latter. It sets out 12 policy ideas to overcome these barriers through promoting culture change, developing and extending access to relationship support and improving the impact of relationship support and raising awareness of its value.


More support for separating couples and parents

After the major changes to the family court in April this year and the recent announcement in July of a free mediation session for separating couples, the government is announcing further initiatives to help people in the family and civil justice system. A new package of support has been developed aimed at keeping disputes away from court and providing better support for those who do end up in court.


Parents turning away from Child Maintenance Service because of new charge, charity finds

Thousands of parents are turning away from the new government Child Maintenance Service because of new charges brought in this summer. The warning comes from single parent charity Gingerbread which says 3,700 fewer parents applied to the new service in August than in May, after a £20 application fee was introduced on 30 June.


JRF response to George Osborne’s speech – Tougher times await for families living in poverty

The economy is beginning to recover, but for people on low incomes, the forecasts are heading in the wrong direction. Without concerted action, millions of people are going to find it harder to meet their basic needs and have already borne a sizeable burden of deficit reduction in this parliament.


Journal articles

Compassionate love as a mechanism linking sacred qualities of marriage to older couples’ marital satisfaction

Sabey, Allen K.; Rauer, Amy J.; Jensen, Jakob F. (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 28(5), 594-603


Cohabitors’ Reasons for Living Together, Satisfaction with Sacrifices, and Relationship Quality

Chiung-Ya Tanga, Melissa Curranb & Analisa Arroyo, Marriage & Family Review

Vol 50 (7), 598-620


Can You Tell That I’m in a Relationship? Attachment and Relationship Visibility on Facebook

Lydia F. Emery, Amy Muise, Emily L. Dix, Benjamin Le (2014), Personal and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 40 (11), 1466-1479


How partners’ temptation leads to their heightened commitment: The interpersonal regulation of infidelity threats

Angela M. Neal, Edward P. Lemay Jr (2014), Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. 31 (7), 938-957


Passion for life: Self-expansion and passionate love across the life span

Virgil L. Sheets (2014), Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. 31 (7), 958-974


The longitudinal impact of intimate partner aggression and relationship status on women’s physical health and depression symptoms

Watkins, Laura E.; Jaffe, Anna E.; Hoffman, Lesa; Gratz, Kim L.; Messman-Moore, Terri L.; DiLillo, David (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 28 (5), 655-665


Perceptions of Boundary Ambiguity in the Process of Leaving an Abusive Partner

Lyndal Khaw, and Jennifer L. Hardesty (2014), Family Process, doi: 10.1111/famp.12104


Gender and the Construction of Intimacy among Committed Couples with Children

Conroy Reynolds, and Carmen Knudson-Martin (2014), Family Process, doi: 10.1111/famp.12100


Sanctification of marriage and spiritual intimacy predicting observed marital interactions across the transition to parenthood

Kusner, Katherine G.; Mahoney, Annette; Pargament, Kenneth I.; DeMaris, Alfred (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 28(5), 604-614


Predicting Key Change Events in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy

Tracy L. Dalgleish, Susan M. Johnson, Melissa Burgess Moser, Stephanie A. Wiebe, and Giorgio A. Tasca (2014), Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, doi: 10.1111/jmft.12101


Is Committed Desire Intentional? A Qualitative Exploration of Sexual Desire and Differentiation of Self in Couples

Luana Cunha Ferreira, Peter Fraenkel, Isabel Narciso and Rosa Novo (2014), Family Process, doi: 10.1111/famp.12108


The Long Reach of One’s Spouse: Spouses’ Personality Influences Occupational Success

Brittany C. Solomon, Joshua J. Jackson (2014), Psychological Science, doi: 10.1177/0956797614551370


“Why me?”: Low-Income Women’s Poverty Attributions, Mental Health, and Social Class Perceptions

Kristin D. Mickelson, Emily Hazlett (2014), Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Vol 71, (9-10), 319-332


I say a little prayer for you: Praying for partner increases commitment in romantic relationships

Fincham, Frank D.; Beach, Steven R. H. (2014), Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 28 (5), 587-593



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