Benefits of negative social exchanges for emotional closeness

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-621
Journal / PublicationJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Negative exchanges in social relationships have traditionally been studied as having negative consequences. This study explored whether they might have positive effects for relationship closeness. The sample included 351 adults, aged between 18 and 91 years, residing in Hong Kong, China. Closeness of social partners to the participants was measured by the Social Convoy Questionnaire, and the levels of negative exchanges and social support from each social partner were assessed. Multilevel analyses revealed that more negative exchanges were associated with a more positive change in closeness over a 2-year period, even after statistically controlling for social support and sociostructural characteristics of the participant and the social partner. Findings extended our knowledge on the positive effects of negative exchanges and their moderating conditions.

Research Area(s)

  • Chinese, Closeness, Negative social exchange, Social network, Social support