Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Ryan B. Seedall


Ryan B. Seedall


W. David Robinson


Kay Bradford


The Marriage and Family Therapy clinic at Utah State University conducted a study called the Relationship Checkup in which couple data was collected in an initial 2-hour session and feedback was provided for them in a follow-up 1-hour session. This checkup included completing self-report surveys, having an in-person interview, as well as couple interactions. The current study was carried out within the context of this broader relationship checkup, focusing on the couple support interactions, in which partners discussed a personal issue they would like to change about themselves.

Although a substantial amount of attention has been given to the role of attachment during couple conflict, much less attention has been given to social support processes. Yet the purpose of therapy is not only to diminish disruptive conflict but also to enhance positive relationship processes, making a greater understanding of social support processes crucial to the therapy process.

The results of this study indicate that partners with higher levels of avoidant attachment perceived they were receiving and providing less support. This reveals that couple therapists may need to assist these partners in reaching out and providing support. Additionally, results show that for women, discussing a personal issue soothed them physiologically. Therefore, rather than focusing on couple conflict, couples therapists can also build positive relationship interactions through couple social support.