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.
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 great majority of American adults have had someone confide in them about a problem in a marriage.
Female friends and a variety of family members are most likely to confide in someone about a marriage problem.
People bring a wide range of problems to confidants, from mild to very serious.
Many confidants lack confidence in how to be helpful, and some of them are stressed by the role.
Listening, being supportive, and offering perspective were the most helpful things confidants do.
And here are more details:
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. Leading stresses:
People bring a wide range of problems, from mile to serious, to these confidants. The most common problems brought to confidants:
What did confidants do that was most helpful for confiders? Top five:
What did confidants do that was not helpful for confiders? Top five:
Divorce and confiding