Sacrifice in a Supportive Marriage: Social Support as a Moderator Buffers the Negative Effects of Sacrifice in Marriage

Abstract

There is a long and interesting history in the study of the positive and negative effects of sacrifice, but few researchers have focused on how one’s marital partner being the recipient of sacrifice may lead to different outcomes. Based on conservation of resources theory, we suggested that a partner’s social support could be a potential moderator between sacrifice and well-being. To examine our hypothesis, we invited 141 Taiwanese couples to participate in our study. As expected, we found that only for those individuals whose partners provided less social support to them, the more they sacrificed, the lower marital satisfaction and the higher depressive symptoms they reported. In contrast, this effect was not found for the context in which a partner provided more social support. In addition, the negative correlation between a partner’s sacrifice and one’s depressive symptoms became stronger when an individual provided more support to their sacrificing partner. Our findings highlight that the relationship between sacrifice and well-being are contingent upon context, and are particularly dependent on whether the recipient of sacrifice can provide a supportive relationship.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We also ran the regression models with four interaction terms, including actor suppression × actor social support, partner suppression × partner social support, actor suppression × partner social support, and actor suppression × actor social support. All of the results remained significant.

  2. 2.

    We also ran the regression models included gender and the interaction terms with gender to examine the potential gender effects. None of the interactions with gender was found, neither the two-way interactions (gender × actor sacrifice, gender × partner sacrifice, gender × actor social support, gender × partner social support) nor the three-way interaction (gender × actor sacrifice × partner social support, gender × partner sacrifice × actor social support). All the interaction findings between sacrifice and social support reported in the current study remained significant when included gender related variables.

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Acknowledgement

This work was founded by National Science Council, Taiwan (NSC 102-2410-H-030 -011 & MOST 103-2410-H-030 -035 -MY2) for Tsui-Shan Li. In addition, Lung Hung Chen was supported by Ministry of Education, Taiwan (2012 project of elastic salary for outstanding scholar).

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Lin, WF., Li, TS. & Chen, L.H. Sacrifice in a Supportive Marriage: Social Support as a Moderator Buffers the Negative Effects of Sacrifice in Marriage. J Happiness Stud 18, 575–589 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9738-9

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Keywords

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Sacrifice
  • Social support