Gehman, R. M., Pinel, E. C., Johnson, L. C., & Grover, K. W. (2022). Emerging Ideas. A ripple effect: Does I‐sharing with a stranger promote compromise in cohabiting couples?. Family Relations.

Objective: Drawing from work on the prosocial outcomes associated withI‐sharing, we asked whether I‐sharing with a stranger enhances couples’ability to compromise. Background: Living together harmoniously requirescompromise. Research on the psychological factors that promote compromisefrequently focuses on individual differences and interpersonal environment.The current research takes a different approach by asking what role I‐sharing(i.e., the feeling that others share the same in‐the‐moment, subjectiveexperience as oneself) plays in the success of a cohabiting couple’scompromise efforts. Method: Both members of a cohabiting couple privatelyreported the percentage of time they spend on household tasks (the Divisionof Household Labor inventory [DHL]) before undergoing a manipulation in whichthey either did or did not have an I‐sharing experience with a stranger.Participants then completed the DHL again, this time working together withtheir cohabiting partner to reach a consensus in their responses. Finally,participants had another chance to complete the DHL in private, receiving theinstruction to respond with their true beliefs. Results: When relationshippartners worked together to complete the DHL at the second reporting, theirresponses were identical. At the third (private) DHL reporting, consistentwith prediction, couples assigned to the I‐share condition showed moreagreement with their partner than couples assigned to the No I‐sharecondition. Conclusion: This finding suggests that the prosociality generatedby I‐sharing can promote compromise in cohabiting couples. Implications:I‐sharing holds promise as a therapeutic tool to promote compromise intreatment‐seeking families and couples.