A research team from UCLA, University of Zurich, Bielefeld University, and University of Freiburg has studied how couples react under stress.
Not surprisingly, women are better at reaching out to others during stress, while men become more negative in their responses.
Among the conclusions, the results showed that:
Both unstressed men and unstressed women provided positive support to their partners.
When they were stressed, women tended to show more support than men did when responding to a partner’s emotional expression of anxiety and stress.
When they became stressed, men tended to make a greater number of negative comments than women did in response to their partner’s emotional expression of anxiety and stress.
The researchers claim that both men and women can benefit from acknowledging the role stress plays in these scenarios, regardless of their sexual orientation, by recognizing that they truly cannot know how stressed their partner is without asking directly and by understanding that stress can disrupt their ability to maintain a close relationship.
But there is hope, says Thomas Bradbury from the research team: “Couples who appreciate the subtle effects of stress can overcome the challenge and even grow closer because of how they respond.”
You can read more about the research here: