Emre Selçuk received the TUBITAK 3501 Career Development Grant with his project “Toward Enhancing the Applied Potential of Relationship Science via Basic Research: Examining Interpersonal Variability in Support Processes and Its Consequences for Relational Well-Being.”
Emre Selçuk’s research program focuses on understanding formation, maintenance, and daily life functions of close relationships. Recent research by Selçuk and others show that quality of our close social bonds has particularly potent effects on our psychological well-being as well as physical health. Thus, assisting people in maintaining high quality relationships is a crucial target for researchers and practitioners alike. The grant Emre Selçuk and his colleagues received will focus on a mechanism called “support matching” in improving relationship quality.
Selçuk and colleagues believe that partners’ ability to support each other in times of hardship is particularly critical in determining both relationship happiness and personal well-being. Not only we are all aware of the importance of being right by our loved ones’ side in times of difficulty, we also are usually very motivated to help alleviate their stress as much as we can. Yet, most (if not all) of us experience difficulty in delivering effective support. This is because individuals differ significantly from each other in terms of the type of support they need when they cope with stressors. The same support behavior that is immensely helpful for someone may in fact be harmful for another person. Given the highly idiosyncratic nature of support needs, it takes time for partners to figure out each other’s expectations in stressful situations. According to Selçuk and colleagues, partners who align their support behaviors to each other’s needs and expectations over time are also likely to enjoy greater relationship quality. The research team will test this prediction in a study where they will follow new romantic couples for a year. The team hope that their findings will provide input for developing applied programs helping couples maintain high-quality relationships.