The emotional effects after the fracture of a power-unbalanced relationship

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Baker, Janelle
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The purpose of this research was to study the emotional responses of men and women after the fracture of power-unbalanced relationships. Respondents' perceptions of the interaction dynamics in power-unbalanced relationships and the resulting changes to their identities after fracture were examined in relation to the consequent emotions of anxiety, anomie, depression and anger. This thesis focused specifically on male/female dyadic love relationships where, given the lingering vestiges of patriarchy, the men were more power dominant compared to the women. It was hypothesized that the men would express anger and that the women would experience the emotions of anxiety, depression, and anomie. As well, drawing from Berzonsky's identity types it was postulated that the men would have personalities with foreclosure type identities, and would thus exhibit little introspection and a high degree of resistance to change. Conversely, it was suggested that the women would expect a high degree of external control and would have personalities with diffusion type identities. After fracture, given these identity types, it was anticipated that the women would experience greater changes to their identities. From the conclusions, it was apparent that the hypotheses regarding emotions and identities were verified. This research provides men with a heightened awareness of the detrimental effects of the all-encompassing emotional response of anger and encourages them to change their behavior within power-unbalanced relationships. As well, women are provided with information about the negative emotional consequences of being in relationships in which they are subordinate and of the importance of individually developing a strong sense of identity.