Natural Disasters’ Impact on Intimate Relationships

Topic: Psychological Influences
Words: 1675 Pages: 6

Type of Study

The research is a correlational research design because it involves observing two or more variables to determine the relationship. The study’s main purpose was to investigate the impact of natural disasters on the relationship satisfaction of newlywed couples (Williamson et al., 2021). Based on this, the researchers wanted to determine whether natural disasters can strengthen or fracture relationship satisfaction before or after hurricane occurrence. The researchers used longitudinal data obtained prior to and after a couple experienced a hurricane. However, they could not manipulate the variables in the study. Therefore, this is correlational research since it was performed to investigate the link between natural disasters and the extent of relationships among newlywed couples.


The dependent and independent variables were used in the research. An Independent variable is a variable controlled to test the impact on a dependent variable. For example, the type of variable is the occurrence of a natural disaster, which in this case, is a hurricane. This is independent because it determines the level of relationship satisfaction among young couples. On the other hand, a dependent variable is a variable being tested in an experiment. In the study, relationship satisfaction is considered a dependent variable because it was the one being tested. The variables were operationally defined by having participants’ relationship satisfaction levels measured before and after a natural disaster. As a result, the researchers used the independent variable to test the dependent.


The participants chosen for the study took part in the interview to provide data at different time points. They responded to the questions asked by the interviewers to provide the required data for the study. The study setting was at the subjects’ homes to ensure they were comfortable (Williamson et al., 2021). They were visited by two interviewers at their homestead. However, they were interviewed in separate areas to describe the study, obtain consent, and verbally administer self-report measures. There was no random sampling of the participants because they were carefully selected. For example, the selection targeted couples living in a socioeconomically diverse neighborhood in Harris County, Texas. Thus, the data was collected in person through one-on-one interviews.

Summary of Findings

The newlywed sample indicated moderate storm exposure and a high degree of satisfaction with their marriages during the start of the trial. However, prior to the hurricane, the trend of relationship satisfaction was consistent with past findings. This shows that both couples experienced an average reduction in satisfaction in two and a half years preceding the hurricane (Williamson et al., 2021). Immediately after the hurricane, both husbands and wives had a large rise in relationship satisfaction, although the degree of this gain did not differ between the genders. Despite this, husbands and spouses demonstrated a similar reduction in relationship satisfaction after the hurricane as they did before. Again, there was no difference in decline magnitude between the two partners.

In this study, the positive impacts may be due to the shared stressor, which could make the partner who is also a victim feel better. Research on how people react psychologically to natural disasters has shown that post-crisis generosity and community cohesion are higher in communities that have been through collective trauma (Williamson et al., 2021). Generally, the results of this study and other studies show that large external stressors cause couples to react positively rather than negatively. Future research on the effects of stress on relationships would benefit from separating stressors based on their size, ability to be controlled, and length of time. As a result, the newlywed couples in the study area reported positive results after the onset of a hurricane disaster.

Critique Of the Study

Confounding Variable

There were no confounding variables in the study because the authors majored in finding the relationship between the two variables. A confounding variable is closely linked with a study’s dependent and independent variables. The two main variables were natural disasters and the level of relationship satisfaction. There were no additional variables that could have influenced both the independent and dependent variables. A confounding factor must have a relationship with the identified variables in the research because it must influence the cause and effect. Therefore, since there was no other concept to affect both the natural disaster and the level of newlywed couples’ relationship satisfaction in the study, it can be deduced that there was no confounding variable.


The sample used in the study was appropriate because it had the capability to provide the most valid and credible data. The participants chosen to take part in the research were representative of the entire population. The couples lived in a diverse population of Harris County, Texas, and had a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds for targeted recruitment. In addition, applications for marriage licenses collected from the Harris County Clerk’s office between 2014 and 2015 were used to identify recently wed couples (Williamson et al., 2021). Based on this, the subjects who participated in the study were representative of the population. The study could be replicated because the results obtained were similar to the ones previously obtained and reported in the literature. This should be done to confirm the result or obtain a new set of results for the study.

The Validity of the Dependent Variable

In this study, the dependent variable is the level of relationship satisfaction among newlywed couples. Validity refers to the extent to which a measure’s scores represent the variable they are supposed to determine. The participants were interviewed differently to obtain an accurate result for this research, and data were tabulated to show the relationship. In my view, the dependent variable was measured validly because the outcome obtained from husband and wife indicates the same impact. There were slight differences in the information provided by the participants.

Interpretation of the Findings

According to my analysis of the research, the authors correctly interpreted the findings because the discussion was drawn from the results obtained from the study. Using the data, the authors inferred that a positive view of the relationship characterized the initial post-disaster period compared to the pre-hurricane period (Williamson et al., 2021). In this discussion, the authors used the result from figure one showing pre- and post-hurricane slopes for relationship satisfaction and the jump in satisfaction when the hurricane happened (Williamson et al., 2021). Therefore, the authors made references to the findings in their discussion.

Ethical Safeguards

From my evaluation of the study, the authors used appropriate ethical safeguards. Firstly, the authors obtained consent from the participants. This was done to ensure that everyone participating in the study had agreed. Secondly, the authors ensured voluntary participation in the research to avoid infringing the subjects’ rights. In the study, the authors allowed the participants to change their minds. For example, out of 231 subjects who agreed to participate in the study, 177 participated, and 64 did not (Williamson et al., 2021). This indicates that the participants had the right to make their own decision, including resenting to participate.

Follow-Up Study

My follow-up study design will be based on the findings and their relationship with other articles. This research has indicated that relationship satisfaction increases after the occurrence of a natural disaster. Based on this, I will engage with about five young couples in the study area to ask them about the extent of their relationship at the onset of the hurricane. I will collect the information and compare it with the findings from this research. In addition, I will research the existing literature used in the study to determine their findings regarding the research question being explored.

The Strength or Weakness of The Results

In my opinion, the results reported in the study were more convincing than the author’s claims. As shown in figure 1, although there was a slight increase in relationship satisfaction when the disaster occurred, there was a decline in relationship satisfaction for the time period prior to the accident and for the time period after the hurricane (Williamson et al., 2021). This was the case for both the husband and the wife. This is evidence that there are more elements at play, any one of which could be responsible for the deterioration of the relationship. On the other hand, there is no dispute that the intensity of the relationship peaked just around the time of the natural disaster and then began to decline afterward.

The Implications of the Findings Not Mentioned

The failure to mention that the findings indicate that there are factors affecting relationship satisfaction may show that the outcome is inaccurate. The readers are likely to question the accuracy and reliability of the findings. For example, they are likely to believe that not mentioning some of the results adversely affected the study’s outcome. By not documenting all the findings in the research results in inadequate recommendations for further study. This shows that the research will have minimal impact on future studies seeking to explore and answer the research question.

Specific Problems and Method

The most significant problem in this investigation was that it did not use any professionals, such as trained marital counselors, to assist in analyzing and interpreting the findings. Even though several of the writers work in the psychology department at the University of California, it was necessary to enlist additional parties, particularly those who provided counseling to young couples in the aftermath of the hurricane. The approach that was taken in this research makes the method utilized in comparison to others superior because it allowed the researchers to gather trustworthy data, analyze it, and draw meaningful conclusions from their findings.

A Brief Summary of The Article

The study’s main purpose was to determine whether natural disasters affect intimate relationships. The authors interviewed newlywed couples living in Harris County, Texas, to obtain data for the study (Williamson et al., 2021). The analysis revealed that right after the hurricane, couples were much happier with their relationships than before. However, the results show that the increase in relationship satisfaction was only temporary. After a short time, couples were just as delighted as they were before the hurricane.


Williamson, H. C., Bradbury, T. N., & Karney, B. R. (2021). Experiencing a natural disaster temporarily boosts relationship satisfaction in newlywed couples. Psychological Science, 32(11), 1709-1719. Web.

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