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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1985 Jun;48(6):1584-94.

The effects of private self-consciousness and perspective taking on satisfaction in close relationships.


We extended the scope of recent studies in which self-awareness and perspective taking have been used as predictors of social competence or adjustment: We analyzed their influence on the satisfaction experienced in monogamous, heterosexual relationships. Members of 131 couples answered questions concerning themselves and their relationships. We predicted that individual differences in private self-consciousness would be positively related to relationship satisfaction because of the greater self-disclosure resulting from that heightened self-attention. Second, we predicted that individual differences in perspective taking would foster relationship satisfaction, independent of any influence of self-disclosure. Both expectations were confirmed. Scores on the private self-consciousness scale were predictive of reported self-disclosure, and self-disclosure was predictive of satisfaction in the relationship. Furthermore, once the influence of self-disclosure was removed, no effect of self-consciousness on satisfaction remained. In contrast, after disclosure was controlled, perspective-taking scores were significantly related to satisfaction and were in fact unrelated to disclosure at all. These findings indicate that two personality characteristics having to do with habitual attention to behavioral tendencies, to emotions, and to motivations significantly enhance the quality of close heterosexual relationships in different ways. Results are discussed in terms of current theory in the related fields.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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