Benjamin R. Karney
The Vulnerability-Stress-Adaptation Model (also called the Trait-Context-Process Model ) is a framework for understanding how satisfaction in intimate relationships may change or remain stable over time. Building on cognitive-behavioral approaches, the model describes partners' evaluations of their relationships as a direct reaction to their interactions with each other. The model then expands this idea by suggesting that a couple's interactions are themselves determined by (a) the abilities, personalities, and personal histories of each partner; and (b) the demanding or supportive circumstances that confront the couple. This entry explains the elements of the model in greater detail, describes how the model assembles these elements to explain the course of relationship satisfaction over time, and reviews the implications of this model for research and practice. At the start of an intimate relationship, most couples evaluate each other and the relationship exceedingly positively, and express hope that their positive feelings will last. Despite ...