The Influence of Ethical Responsiveness on Relationships Through Distress

Yi Hsin Hung, Alex Theobald, Hou I. Lau, Kristy Soloski, Stephen Fife, Nathan D. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the role of ethical responsiveness on relationship satisfaction from a partner's perspective after experiencing a distressing life event (DLE). We used data from the Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam), which is a multidisciplinary, longitudinal study in Germany. Our study used anchor data, the original respondents who were randomly selected and gave permission to interview their partners. This study included two waves of anchor responses, which were 2016 and 2018, respectively. We utilized longitudinal structural equation modeling to evaluate whether the partner's ethical responsiveness buffers the negative impact of DLEs on relationship satisfaction per anchor's perspective. The results of our study indicated that partner's ethical responsiveness can buffer the negative impact of DLEs on anchor's perception of relationship satisfaction. Additionally, according to the perception of the anchors, we found that the partners who showed high levels of ethical responsiveness not only maintained their relationship satisfaction but even improved upon it 2 years beyond the DLE. Conversely, relationship satisfaction decreased over time for anchors who reported their partner with an average or lower level of ethical responsiveness. Clinical implications and limitations are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalFamily Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • ethical responsiveness
  • longitudinal study
  • moderation analysis
  • relationship satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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