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J Fam Psychol. 2013 Oct;27(5):806-16. doi: 10.1037/a0034113. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Similarity of relationship standards, couple communication patterns, and marital satisfaction among Chinese couples.

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  • 1Pediatric Prevention Research Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine.


Prior research has indicated that partners' standards for their couple relationships are associated with their levels of marital satisfaction, both in terms of similarity between standards and the degree to which partners are able to resolve differences in their standards constructively. However, little is known about processes through which couples effectively cope with conflicting relationship standards. Furthermore, most research on relationship standards has been conducted in Western countries, and there is a need for more information about the role of this form of cognition in Asian and other cultures. In the present study, relationship standards and communication patterns were examined in relation to marital satisfaction among 297 community couples in a northern city in mainland China. Results indicated that the similarity of relationship standards of members of real couples was significantly higher than randomly matched male-female pairs. A hypothesized conceptual model predicting marital satisfaction from partners' similarity of relationship standards and communication patterns was tested using structural equation modeling. Similarity of relationship standards can affect couple's marital satisfaction indirectly, through perceived communication patterns. The interdependence between husbands' and wives' aspects of relationship functioning also are examined and discussed.

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