New Research on Marital Confidants
We have first-of-a-kind national research on confidants for American marriages and long term committed relationships. As part of his role as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science, Bill Doherty initiated a study of American adults to get baseline data upon which to build the Marital First Responders training.
Since that research study, two Ph.D. research dissertations have demonstrated effectiveness in LGBT populations (Zrenchik & Doherty, 2019) as well as African American populations (Yeager & Doherty, 2021).
The study involved a survey completed by Internet panel of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 25-70, conducted by YouGov.com, an academically respected Internet survey company. The sample was representative of the U.S. population on age, gender, race, and education.
Here are the highlights, followed by detailed findings:
The most common relationships in which confiding occurs are:
Only half of confidants (49%) feel confident in their ability to help. Forty percent have felt stressed by these conversations.
What did confidants do that was most helpful for confiders?
What did confidants do that was not helpful for confiders?
The great majority (72%) of people who have been divorced said they confided in someone (other than a professional) about the problem that was leading to the divorce.
The most common confidants they talked with were:
Confiding in professionals before divorcing:
29% of divorced people confided in a professional counselor
15% in a clergy person
People bring a wide range of problems, from mile to serious, to these confidants.
The most common problems brought to confidants: