This work was supported by a National Institute of Child Health and Development grant (HD042245-01A2) to the first author, and University of Louisville research grant to the first and third authors. Thanks to Alice Edwards for her help with Study 2.
Social allergies in romantic relationships: Behavioral repetition, emotional sensitization, and dissatisfaction in dating couples
Article first published online: 28 APR 2005
Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 273–295, June 2005
How to Cite
Cunningham, M. R., Shamblen, S. R., Barbee, A. P. and Ault, L. K. (2005), Social allergies in romantic relationships: Behavioral repetition, emotional sensitization, and dissatisfaction in dating couples. Personal Relationships, 12: 273–295. doi: 10.1111/j.1350-4126.2005.00115.x
- Issue published online: 28 APR 2005
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2005
A social allergy is a reaction of hypersensitive annoyance or disgust to a repeated behavior. Two studies were conducted on the social allergen categories of uncouth habits, inconsiderate acts, intrusive behaviors, and norm violations. Study 1 focused on hypothetical male and female partner behaviors at 2 and 12 months in a dating relationship. Study 2 obtained reports of social allergens performed by the individual and partner in dating couples, as well as the individual's emotional responses and relationship outcomes. Social allergens were perceived to increase in frequency over time in both studies, with some indications that men were more uncouth and norm violating and women were more inconsiderate and intrusive. Study 2 also found that the more often that the partner performed an allergenic behavior, the stronger was the individual's negative emotional reaction. Further, frequent and emotionally intense social allergens were associated with relationship dissatisfaction, and with termination assessed a year later.