A new study has revealed that Thai couples argue more then their counterparts in other Asian countries, often due to spending too much time on the computer or smartphone.
Prudential Life Assurance (Thailand), a large insurance company in Asia recently revealed the result of the 2016 Prudential Relationship Index (PRI).
The company says the purpose of the PRI is to develop a better understanding of personal relationships between people in Thailand and in other countries in Asia.
The good news is that Thailand scores favourably overall, ranking fifth out of 10 participating countries in the region.
Thailand’s PRI satisfaction score is 71/100, considered as a high level of relationship satisfaction (Vietnam scores highest with an index of 83/100).
The results also reflect many ideas on how to improve or strengthen people’s primary relationships with partners, family, friends and colleagues.
The relationship survey shows surprising results related to digital life issues. Thai couples have the highest frequency of arguments, and addiction to computers or smartphones has become one of the most common causes of arguments between couples.
Besides financial issues, drinking and smoking, Thais indicate their partner spends too much time with high-tech devices rather than partaking in activities together.
The survey highlighted the supportive nature of family and friendship groups in Thai culture, especially between parents and their children.
Thai parents are the most generous in Asia in terms of giving gifts to their children. Most Thais place a very strong importance on their parents, ranking second in Asia.
Somewhat paradoxically, Thai people report that they have the most arguments with parents, more than any other people in the region.
Relationships with friends are another aspect of life that Thais give precedence to, ranking third in the region for this category.
Mr Arthur J Belfer, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Life Assurance (Thailand) Public Company Limited, says that study brings to light many aspects of Thai culture and the interactions between Thai people.
“Prudential believes that having a better understanding of their relationships, including both positive and negative factors, can allow people to improve their relationships and generate more personal relationship satisfaction in life.”
“However, the PRI indicated a growing concern among people in relationships regarding a gap that exists between couples because of the excessive use of digital devices.
People should use devices wisely, and prevent themselves from spending too much time that may adversely affect their relationship,” said Mr Belfer.
The survey shows Thais represent the highest proportion in the region in terms of experiencing upset or dissatisfaction with their partners.
In fact, 37% said their partners make them upset weekly. Every week, 28% also seriously consider leaving their partners.
The most likely sources of arguments between couples are money (45%), drinking and smoking (35%), and too much time on the computer or phone (32%).
Getting along well is the most important factor in a good relationship and Thai couples said they mostly appreciate partners who are easy to get along with (77%) as the most important factor for a good relationship.
Other qualities include making each other laugh and smile (75%), and willing to do things spontaneously for them (73%).
Thai parents say they are mostly satisfied with the relationships they have with their children. Thais have strong relationships with their children (51/100).
Thai parents mostly want to enjoy companionship and interaction with their children (68%), while 61% said it matters being made to laugh or smile by their kids, another important element in parental relationships.
The most generous parents in Asia. Thai parents are most generous with their children – 76% give their children a nice surprise at least once a week and 43% give them a gift every day. This counts as the highest reported frequency in Asia.
Thai people feel satisfied about their relationship with their parents, scoring 54/100 on average. This is the second highest score for parental relationships in the region, with only those in Cambodia having a higher score.
Also, 50% of married people in Thailand still live with their own parents or their spouses’ parents. They are the most likely in the region to argue with their parents, with 22% of them doing so every week.
Thais put a lot of value on having parents being supportive. The study showed 73% of adult Thais think it’s important that their parents stand up for them. They also feel that they can rely on their parents; 78% believe that their parents would provide help for them in emergencies. These are the highest PRI scores in the region.
Overall, Thais have a relationship score of 46/100 among friends – the third highest score in the region behind the Philippines and Vietnam. Laughter and smiling is highly important in relationships with friends. More than two-thirds (68%) of Thai adults think it’s important that friends make each other laugh or smile.
Thais are highly likely to have a system of mutual support in case of emergencies, particularly within families. The majority of those surveyed in Thailand feel that they can rely on their parents (78%), relatives (66%), or friends (62%).
Thais do not only support each other in emergencies – there is substantial mutual financial support day-to-day. Thais are the most likely to give and receive financial support from parents.
Some 79% provide some form of financial support to their parents; 51% say they receive financial support from them. There is also financial inter-dependence within couples, where 73% of men say they provide financial support to their spouses, considered more than women who support their men.
Amid the stress of modern life, the digital revolution has impacted relationships in Thailand, where partners and parents often compete with smartphones for love and attention.
For instance, over half (51%) said that their partners sometimes prefer using their phones to being intimate with them.
More Thais are prepared to forego technology to improve their relationships. With the addiction to “always-on tech”, many actually said they are prepared to forego technology, with 93% of people saying they would consider giving up technology for one day so that they can improve their relationships.