SAGE Journals

Daily stress and relationship quality: A two-decade scoping review from an intersectional lens

Posted on 2022-05-09 - 00:06

Within relationship research, a great deal of attention is given to emphasizing the interpersonal context related to daily stress and its association with relationship well-being. However, apart from the interpersonal context in which stress may occur, one must consider individual, sociocultural, and systemic factors associated with these daily experiences. Taking an intersectional focus, this systematic review aimed to critically examine the extant research on daily stress and romantic relationship quality from the past two decades, answering three guiding questions: (RQ1) From whose vantage point has the research been conducted? (RQ2) What types of questions have been valued? (RQ3) Whose voices have been included (and excluded)? Using a scoping review methodology, we identified 23 articles meeting inclusion criteria (empirical studies that used daily methodologies, focused on romantic relationships, and examined associations between stress or stressors and relationship quality). Findings revealed most of this research was conducted by researchers in Psychology and Family Studies (or related disciplines) working in the U.S. (RQ1). Studies were quantitative and largely dyadic, often adopting theoretical perspectives without particular theorizing on context and identity (RQ2). Samples were predominantly White, U.S.-based, and comprised of different-sex couples (RQ3). In addition, studies typically did not report (or excluded from analyses) demographics related to cisnormativity/cissexism, heteronormativity/heterosexism, ableism, and placeism/Western industrialized rich democratic samples. Finally, even though studies often included participants from different age groups, races, and social classes, minority and underserved identities were under-represented. We conclude with specific recommendations for future research aimed to remedy these limitations to advance further the decolonization of the research on daily stress and relationship quality.


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