Positive Emotional Expression Among Couples: The Role of Romantic Competence

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Abstract

We examined the association between romantic competence and positive emotional expressions in a relationship-promoting task serving the dual function of (1) furthering our understanding of the skills needed for adaptive expression of positive emotion that can foster intimacy among couples, and (2) further validating the construct of romantic competence. Eighty-nine emerging adult couples in different-sex relationships were assessed with the Romantic Competence Interview for Emerging Adults and participated in an interaction task, which assessed their ability for adaptive positive emotional expression. Results indicated that women’s romantic competence was positively associated with both her and her partner’s ability for positive emotional expression, even controlling for relationship satisfaction. Implications for understanding positive emotional expression in young couples, as well as the need for increasing romantic competence to facilitate it, are discussed.

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