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The Social-Safety System: Fortifying Relationships in the Face of the Unforeseeable

Murray, Sandra and Lamarche, Veronica M and Seery, Mark and Jung, Han Young and Griffin, Dale and Brinkman, Craig (2021) 'The Social-Safety System: Fortifying Relationships in the Face of the Unforeseeable.' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 120 (1). 99 - 130. ISSN 0022-3514

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Abstract

A model of the social-safety system is proposed to explain how people sustain a sense of safety in the relational world when they are not able to foresee the behavior of others. In this model, people can escape the acute anxiety posed by agents in their personal relational world behaving unexpectedly (e.g., spouse, child) by defensively imposing well-intentioned motivations on the agents controlling their sociopolitical relational world (e.g., President, Congress). Conversely, people can escape the acute anxiety posed by sociopolitical agents behaving unexpectedly by defensively imposing well-intentioned motivations on the agents controlling their personal relational world. Two daily diary studies, a longitudinal study of the 2018 midterm election, and a 3-year longitudinal study of newlyweds supported the hypotheses. On a daily basis, people who were less certain they could trust their romantic partner defended against acutely unforeseeable behavior in one relational world by affirming faith in the well-intentioned motivations of agents in the alternate world. Moreover, when people were more in the personal daily habit of finding safety in the alternate relational world in the face of the unexpected, those who were initially uncertain they could trust their romantic partner later evidenced greater comfort depending on their personal relationship partners.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trust, Safety Regulation, Unexpected, Threat, Relationships
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2020 10:08
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2021 15:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/27183

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