SAGE Journals

A scoping review on couples’ stress and coping literature: Recognizing the need for inclusivity

Posted on 2022-06-25 - 12:06

The study of romantic partners’ experiences of stress and coping has exploded with nearly 11,000 empirical studies on this topic within the past two decades alone. Despite its prevalence, researchers, clinicians, and policy makers alike are questioning how inclusive is our current knowledge base on partners’ stress and coping? The purpose of this review is to examine literature on this topic from the past two decades to offer perspectives on whose vantage point has the research been conducted and what types of questions have been valued and for whom? To answer these questions, a scoping review was conducted of articles published in the last two decades (2002–2021) that focused on associations of partners’ stress, support, and/or coping with relationship quality and presented research questions on two or more demographic identities. Fifty-six empirical articles met the inclusion criteria. Results were not surprising given the lack of diversity in psychological science; most manuscripts used theories and models that were developed by Western scholars and the research questions focused on general processes independent of peoples’ identities or focused on a singular aspect of identity. Limitations and future directions of this review are presented, specifically as they pertain to the need for a more critical analysis of the types of stressors people may experience and how those with diverse identities, particularly multiple minoritized identities, may experience and cope with such stressors in the context of their relationship.


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