UC Santa Barbara researchers Lauren Winczewski, Jeff Bowen, and Nancy Collins study empathy in relationships

March 09, 2016

So you had a terrible day at work. Or the bills are piling up and cash is in short supply. Impending visit from the in-laws, perhaps?

When stress sets in, many of us turn to a partner to help us manage by being a sounding board or shoulder to cry on. Your odds of actually feeling better are much improved if they’re both those things.

New research by psychologists at UC Santa Barbara reveals that simply understanding your partner’s suffering isn’t sufficient to be helpful in a stressful situation; you’ve got to actually care that they’re suffering in the first place.

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