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      Communication, Conflict, and Commitment: Insights on the Foundations of Relationship Success from a National Survey

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      Family Process

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Most cited references 12

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          Marital interaction and satisfaction: a longitudinal view.

          Two longitudinal studies of marital interaction were conducted using observational coding of couples attempting to resolve a high-conflict issue. We found that a different pattern of results predicts con-current marital satisfaction than predicts change in marital satisfaction over 3 years. Results suggest that some marital interaction patterns, such as disagreement and anger exchanges, which have usually been considered harmful to a marriage, may not be harmful in the long run. These patterns were found to relate to unhappiness and negative interaction at home concurrently, but they were predictive of improvement in marital satisfaction longitudinally. However, three interaction patterns were identified as dysfunctional in terms of longitudinal deterioration: defensiveness (which includes whining), stubborness, and withdrawal from interaction. Hypotheses about gender differences in roles for the maintenance of marital satisfaction are presented.
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            Gender and social structure in the demand/withdraw pattern of marital conflict.

            This study examined the effects of gender and social structure on the demand/withdraw pattern of marital conflict. In this pattern, the demander, usually the woman, pressures the other through emotional requests, criticism, and complaints, and the withdrawer, usually the man, retreats through defensiveness and passive inaction. In this study, 31 couples were assessed in 2 conflict situations: 1 in which husband wanted a change in wife and 1 in which wife wanted a change in husband. Data from husbands, wives, and observers consistently revealed a significant main effect of gender (wife-demand/husband-withdraw interaction was more likely than husband-demand/wife-withdraw interaction) and a significant interaction of gender and conflict structure (wife-demand/husband-withdraw interaction was more likely than the reverse only when discussing a change the wife wanted). Separate analyses of demand and withdraw behaviors indicated that both husband and wife were more likely to be demanding when discussing a change they wanted and more likely to be withdrawing when discussing a change their partner wanted. However, men were overall more withdrawn than women, but women were not overall more demanding than men.
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              Willingness to sacrifice in close relationships.

              The authors advance an interdependence analysis of willingness to sacrifice. Support for model predictions was revealed in 6 studies (3 cross-sectional survey studies, 1 simulation experiment, 2 longitudinal studies) that used a novel self-report measure and a behavioral measure of willingness to sacrifice. Willingness to sacrifice was associated with strong commitment, high satisfaction, poor alternatives, and high investments; feelings of commitment largely mediated the associations of these variables with willingness to sacrifice. Moreover, willingness to sacrifice was associated with superior couple functioning, operationalized in terms of level of dyadic adjustment and probability of couple persistence. In predicting adjustment, willingness to sacrifice accounted for significant variance beyond commitment, partially mediating the link between commitment and adjustment; such mediation was not significant for persistence.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Family Process
                Family Process
                Wiley-Blackwell
                0014-7370
                1545-5300
                December 2002
                December 2002
                : 41
                : 4
                : 659-675
                Article
                10.1111/j.1545-5300.2002.00659.x
                f2b21cc4-2a76-4b1b-ad32-bac0ab374bae
                © 2002

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