Intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual risk factors for overprovision of partner support in marriage

Rebecca L. Brock*, Erika Lawrence

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Recent research indicates that receiving too much support from one's spouse (i.e., overprovision of support) is actually more detrimental to marriage than not receiving enough support. The principal goal of the present study was to develop a novel framework for explaining the pathways through which couples experience overprovision of support in their marriages. Intrapersonal factors (anxious and avoidant attachment), interpersonal factors (conflict management and emotional intimacy), and contextual factors (stress originating outside of the marriage) were assessed during the transition into marriage as potential risk factors for experiencing higher levels of support overprovision during the first 5 years of marriage in a sample of 103 couples using growth curve analytic techniques. To the extent that (a) husbands were higher in avoidant attachment, (b) husbands reported greater chronic role strain, and (c) couples had lower levels of emotional intimacy, support overprovision was greater for both husbands and wives. In addition, emotional intimacy (lower levels) was a partial pathway through which husband avoidant attachment contributed to support overprovision. Finally, factors placing couples at risk for support overprovision in their marriages appear to be distinct from those increasing the risk for support underprovision. The potential for results to inform contemporary marital theories and marital preparation programs is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-64
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Adequacy
  • Attachment
  • Couples
  • Intimacy
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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