Meeting Potential Parents-In-Law and Introducing a Partner to Own Parents: Prospective and Retrospective Studies
Parents-in-law are an important part of adult relationships. Contact with them may affect satisfaction and marital success of a married couple. Previous research shows that amount of contact with in-laws, support given by them and conflicts with them have a significant impact on the life of a couple. Little research has explored relationships of parents and parents-in-law with a couple before marriage. Even less is known about the beginnings of these relationships. This research consists of two studies which explored the vision and memories of the first meetings of potential in-laws and parents as a couple. Study 1 (N1 = 34, age M = 23.40, SD = 2.32, Woman = 64.70% N1) asked the participants how they imagined those events, while evaluating stress accompanying them. The participants reported predictions of feeling stressed by both events, but also of excitement, having no expectations, being ashamed by their own parents or being trustful in parents’ behavior. Stress assessments of both events are inconclusive in establishing whether one of them is more stressful than the other. In Study 2 (N2 = 8, age M = 23.50, SD = 2.67, Woman = 62.50% N2) a sample of young adults was interviewed about their memories concerning situations of meeting their in-laws and introducing their partner to their own parents. The respondents recalled 37 features, of which experiencing stress and fear in both situations was common. All reflected on the way that the meeting happened and all but one described how they had prepared for it.
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