Exploring links between well-being and interactional sense-making in married couples' jointly told stories of stress

Jody Koenig Kellas, April R. Trees, Paul Schrodt, Cassandra LeClair-Underberg, Erin K. Willer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Narrative theorizing suggests that narrating stress, difficulty, or trauma can be beneficial for improved mental health, yet extant research tends to consider narrating stress as an individual or psychological construct. However, in close relationships, people often experience shared stressors and jointly tell their shared stories of difficulty to others. Thus, joint storytelling processes likely also relate to individual health. We tested this expectation using a series of actor-partner interdependence models and path analyses in a study that included 68 couples' video-recorded joint storytelling interactions. Findings primarily indicate relationships between husbands', wives', and couples' storytelling behaviors and husbands' mental health. Generally speaking, however, storytelling behaviors did not predict wives' mental health. Interpretations, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-193
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication

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