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J Fam Psychol. 2004 Mar;18(1):171-83.

Relations of husbands and wives dysphoria to marital conflict resolution strategies.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.


This study investigated relations between spouses' dysphoria and constructive and destructive emotions and tactics displayed by husbands and wives throughout marital conflicts. Behavioral observations were made of 267 couples' interactions during marital conflict resolution tasks. Husbands' and wives' dysphoria levels were related to particular negative marital conflict expressions and the absence of positive strategies, even after taking into account couples' marital satisfaction and their partners' levels of dysphoria. Moreover, in comparison with wives' dysphoria, husbands' dysphoria was associated with more pervasive impairments in couples" conflict strategies evident in multiple contexts of conflict resolution, including discussion of relatively minor sources of disagreement. Implications for the treatment of depressed or maritally discordant couples are discussed.

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