Application of a behavioral model of marriage in predicting relationship satisfaction of couples planning marriage

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Examined interaction patterns and relationship attributes affecting future relationship satisfaction of couples planning to marry. Specifically, the study applied a behavioral model of marriage to a sample of premarital couples to assess the predictive validity of an exchange measure that had discriminative validity in previous cross-sectional studies. 14 couples participated in a longitudinal study over a 2½-yr period. Measures of the couples' exchange patterns, problem intensity, and relationship satisfaction were obtained at Time 1 and were used to predict relationship satisfaction at 2 follow-up points (Times 2 and 3). In moderate support of the behavioral model, the exchange measure was strongly predictive of relationship satisfaction at Time 3 but not at Time 2. The more positively the couples rated their interaction at Time 1, the more satisfied they were at Time 3. It is concluded that unrewarding communication patterns precede the development of relationship distress. The implications for the behavioral model of marriage and the development of programs designed to prevent marital distress are discussed. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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