The relationship between anxiety and managing interpersonal difference: Implications for couples counselling

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John Meteyard1 and Kirsty Andersen Christian Heritage College, Brisbane, Australia 
Denis O’Hara University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland


This study investigated the relationship between the capacity to manage and tolerate difference in others and trait anxiety.  Data was provided from a sample of 173 students from an Australian higher education institution who completed The Emotional Reactivity Subscale of the Differentiation of Self Inventory-Revised (DSI-R), The State Trait Anxiety Inventory – trait (STAI-T), and The Tolerating Interpersonal Differences Subscale of the Differentiation Factor Inventory – Revised (DFI-R).  Results reveal that trait anxiety when measured by both the STAI-T and DSI-R Emotional Reactivity Subscale, is a significant inverse predictor of the capacity to tolerate interpersonal differences within close relationships.  Implications of these findings for the practice of couples therapy, including the role of relationship counsellors in helping their clients learn to more effectively manage difficult emotions like anxiety more effectively, are explored. 


Dr. J. D. Meteyard
Senior Lecturer, School of Social Science
Christian Heritage College, P.O. Box 2246, Mansfield BC, Qld 4122, Australia
Ph: +617 3347 7900
Fax: +617 3347 7911
e-mail: jmeteyard@chc.edu.au

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