Steeling against Midlife Adversity: Resilience-Promoting Practices of Long-Term Romantic Pairs

Vincent R. Waldron, Megan Jacobs Farnworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Midlife is a time of both turbulence and stability for long-term romantic couples, a period that may bring adversity in the form of changed roles, distressed adult offspring, health conditions, and caregiving for parents. We draw on Afifi’s theory of resilience and relational load (TRRL) to interpret interview data collected from 265 couples. Participants illustrated TRRL by describing familiar resource management practices, such sharing quality time. They extend the theory by reporting unanticipated practices, such as truth-telling and having fun. TRRL was challenged to account for the roles played by culture, faith, and resource-intensive identities. Some practices, such as broadening the base, were consistent with both TRRL and other theories. Findings respond to calls by resilience researchers for improved understanding of interactive practices that help people steel against the inevitable challenges of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-145
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication


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