Cannabis users may think that their approaches to resolving conflicts in romantic relationships are better than they are, and do not recognize the potentially problematic dynamics that may exist, according to a joint study by Rutgers and Mount Holyoke College.
A study published in the journal Drug and alcohol dependence, is one of the few to study how cannabis consumption is related to how couples interact. Researchers say the results could help couples in which at least one partner uses cannabis better navigate in discussing and resolving conflicts.
“We looked at different indicators of how relationships work: how satisfied and committed people feel in a relationship, their behavior and physiology during laboratory conflict interactions, and their perceptions of discussing conflict and relationships afterwards,” said author Jessica Salvatore, co-worker. Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Robert Wood Johnson Rutgers School of Medicine.
In a study of 145 couples in which at least one partner used cannabis, they were asked to report how often they used the substance and how satisfied they were with their relationship. The couples were recorded on video participating in a 10-minute discussion on what they called the main source of conflict, during which the researchers measured their physiological response to stress by heart rate and respiration.
The couple then held a five-minute discussion on the areas in which they agreed. After that, the researchers asked how they thought the talks went and how satisfied they were conflict resolution.
The videos were viewed by two groups of trained evaluators who assessed the conflicting behaviors of each partner, including avoidance (rejection, avoidance, or disregard of contradictions) and negative interactions (demands for change, criticism, or accusations) on separate five-point scales.
As far as appreciated by a separate set of ratings partners were able to get out of the conflict, regardless of the solution, to discuss the agreements and the positive aspects of their relationship. They gave low scores if participants did not make a significant contribution to the discussion of the positive aspects of the relationship, and high scores if they singled out areas of agreement or positive aspects of the relationship or if they clarified their partner’s suggestions.
The researchers found that participants who used cannabis more often showed less parasympathetic disconnection when interacting with a partner, indicating a reduced ability to respond flexibly to stress. They also expressed more criticism and demands, avoided conflicts during the discussion and were less able to refocus on discussing the positive aspects of their relationship. However, paradoxically, when asked how they felt the conflict was conducted, cannabis consumers reported that they were more satisfied with the way the conflict was resolved and did not consider themselves to have used demand or avoidance strategies.
“Estimates from cannabis consumers were almost the opposite of what independent appraisers found, “Salvatore said.” However, it is important to note that the results of this study do not mean that cannabis use it’s good or bad for a relationship. Rather, it provides an understanding of how couples can better navigate conflicts and come to a solution. If you don’t see the problems, you can’t solve them. ”
Catherine S. Haydan et al., Perception of Attitudes and Conflict Behavior Among Cannabis Consumers, Drug and alcohol dependence (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.drugalcdep.2022.109502
Citation: Cannabis users may have a misconception of how well their romantic relationship is functioning (2022, June 8), received June 8, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-06-cannabis-users-misperceive-romantic -relationships.html
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