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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1992 Aug;63(2):221-33.

Marital processes predictive of later dissolution: behavior, physiology, and health.

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  • 1University of Washington, Department of Psychology, Seattle 98195.


Seventy-three married couples were studied in 1983 and 1987. To identify marital processes associated with dissolution, a balance theory of marriage was used to generate 1 variable for dividing couples into regulated and nonregulated groups. For studying the precursors of divorce, a "cascade" model of marital dissolution, which forms a Guttman-like scale, received preliminary support. Compared with regulated couples, nonregulated couples had (a) marital problems rated as more severe (Time 1); (b) lower marital satisfaction (Time 1 and Time 2); (c) poorer health (Time 2); (d) smaller finger pulse amplitudes (wives); (e) more negative ratings for interactions; (f) more negative emotional expression; (g) less positive emotional expression; (h) more stubbornness and withdrawal from interaction; (i) greater defensiveness; and (j) greater risk for marital dissolution (lower marital satisfaction and higher incidence of consideration of dissolution and of actual separation).

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