Few analysis of individuals who experienced various sorts of relationship loss throughout recent research discovered that these experiences were connected with various patterns of short- and long-term sense of control following the loss.
These findings were published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Eva Asselmann of the HMU Health and Medical University in Potsdam, Germany, and Jule Specht of the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, Germany. A larger perceived sense of personal control over one’s life has been linked to better health and wellbeing, according to prior study. Romantic relationships and perceptions of control are strongly related; for instance, research points to a connection between perceptions of control and higher levels of relationship pleasure.
Less is understood, however, concerning potential connections between changes in perceived control and the end of a relationship.
Asselmann and Specht examined data from three time periods in a multi-decade study of German families to give new light. In particular, they evaluated changes in perceived control for 1,235 people who suffered separation from their partner, 423 who divorced, and 437 whose partners passed away using yearly questionnaire responses from 1994, 1995, and 1996.
According to statistical analysis of the questionnaire’s data, those who experienced separation from their partner generally reported lower levels of perceived control in the first year following the separation, which gradually increased in succeeding years.
Younger persons had more control than older people, but women were more likely than males to experience a reduction in control after separation.
People who lost spouses reported an overall rise in perceived control during the first year after the loss, followed by a sustained increase over the year prior to the death. However, younger persons suffered more negative impacts from spouse death on their sense of control compared to older people.
No associations between divorce and perceived control were discovered by the analysis.
Future studies are encouraged to follow people who have not yet suffered relationship loss and assess how changes in perceived control are affected by a loss. They also demand that the mechanisms be studied.