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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1990 Dec;58(6):790-8.

Longitudinal prediction of marital discord from premarital expressions of affect.

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State University of New York, Stony Brook.


Theoretical and empirical analyses suggest that affective features of dyadic communication bear importantly on relationship satisfaction. A circumplex model that originated in research on the structure of affect was first replicated using data from premarital problem-solving discussions. Negativity, Positivity, and Disengagement emerged as the three primary factors. Multiple regression analyses, controlling for premarital relationship satisfaction, showed affective Disengagement at premarriage to be negatively associated with marital satisfaction at 18 (n = 84) and 30 (n = 72) months after marriage. Negativity of premarital affective expression correlated negatively with premarital satisfaction (n = 88) but not with postmarital satisfaction. Two variables formed by combining affect factors contributed to the prediction of 30-month marital satisfaction. Elements associated with current marital satisfaction appear to differ from those associated with later marital satisfaction.

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