Prosocial Relationship Maintenance and Resilience/Thriving

Authored by: Nicole N. Zamanzadeh , Tamara D. Afifi

The Routledge Handbook of Positive Communication

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138633278
eBook ISBN: 9781315207759
Adobe ISBN:


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Families are systems of stress and resilience. Family members can fuel each others’ stress and simultaneously be primary sources of coping, support, and inspiration. The unique and complex nature of families provides the foundation for its members to thrive. In this chapter, we review a new theory of stress and resilience in close relationships—the Theory of Resilience and Relational Load (TRRL)—and its role in creating strong families. The TRRL examines how relational partners’ and family members’ communal orientation and prosocial relationship maintenance influences their communication patterns and attributions when they are stressed. The theory then examines the influence of these communication patterns and appraisals on personal and relational health and adaptation. It also sets forth the notion of relational load or the wear and tear that chronic stress and conflict can have on relationships. Ultimately, people need to continually invest in their relationships to promote relational and personal well-being, resilience, and thriving.

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