Does support need to be seen? Daily invisible support promotes next day relationship well-being.

Direct and overt visible support promotes recipients’ relationship satisfaction but can also exacerbate negative mood. In contrast, subtle and indirect invisible support can bypass costs to mood, but it is unclear whether it undermines or boosts relationship satisfaction. Because invisible support is not perceived by recipients, its relational impact may be delayed across time. Thus, the current research used three dyadic daily diary studies (total N = 322 married couples) to explore, for the first time, both the immediate (same day) and lagged (next day) effects of visible and invisible support on recipients’ mood and relationship satisfaction. Consistent with prior research, visible support was associated with recipients reporting greater relationship satisfaction and greater anxiety the same day. In contrast, but also consistent with prior research, invisible support had no significant same-day effects, and thus avoided mood costs. Nevertheless, invisible support was associated with recipients reporting greater relationship satisfaction the next day. Study 3 provided evidence that such effects emerged because invisible support was also associated with greater satisfaction with partners’ helpful behaviors (e.g., household chores) and relationship interactions (e.g., time spent together) on the next day. These studies demonstrate the importance of assessing different temporal effects associated with support acts (which may otherwise go undetected) and provide the first evidence that invisible support enhances relationship satisfaction but does so across days. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)