Study finds key psychological trait linked to happier families

What makes some families and couples happier and more cohesive in their relationship? Many factors play a role, but a new study from the University of Rochester finds that one particular personality trait is a key element of this positive outcome — and, on the flip side, the study also identified a psychological tendency that may strain relationships and home life.

Many things happen in life and these things may strain a relationship or cause unhappiness in a family. How do happier couples and families handle these tensions and remain strong in their bond? With psychological flexibility, at least according to a new study recently published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.

The researchers looked at how psychological flexibility and inflexibility can impact one's relationships, finding that those who are psychologically flexible may be more likely to strengthen their close relationships during trying times compared to those who are psychologically inflexible.

What does it mean to be psychologically flexible? According to the study, someone with this trait utilizes a variety of skills, including being able to experience emotions and thoughts without becoming obsessive over them, being mindful and open to experiences regardless of whether they're good or bad, and more.

On the other hand, people who are psychologically inflexible may experience dysfunctions in their mental health and relationships when challenging times arise. These traits include things like avoiding difficult emotions and experiences, getting stuck in a mental rut, feeling judgment and shame toward challenging thoughts and emotions, becoming lost in chaotic daily life, and easily losing sight of one's bigger goals.