Emotional compensation in parents

Amit Goldenberg*, Yael Enav, Eran Halperin, Tamar Saguy, James J. Gross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Much of what is currently known about the emotional dimension of parental interactions concerns the role of congruent processes, in which partners experience similar emotions. Far less is known about non-congruent processes, in which partners regulate their emotions to balance out their partner's emotional responses. We define such “balancing out” processes as emotional compensation, and examine them in a series of four studies (N = 895). In Study 1, we show that emotional compensation occurs in situations in which there is high certainty regarding the “correct” emotional response. In Studies 2 and 3, we show that the value placed on parental unity moderates the tendency to compensate. In Study 4, we show that compensation for high-intensity negative responses positively predicts relationship quality. This work brings to light processes that previously have not been examined in partners’ emotional interactions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


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