Relationship of instrumental and affectional behaviors and self-esteem to marital satisfaction in distressed and nondistressed couples

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Abstract

Examined the relationship of instrumental and affectional behavioral events to short- and long-term marital satisfaction. 11 distressed and 11 nondistressed couples made daily observations of their spouses' pleasurable and displeasurable behavior over a 14-day period. These behavioral ratings (on measures such as the Spouse Observation Checklist and the Enjoyment of Outside Experiences rating scale) were also related to several personality variables pertaining to sex role orientation and to reported activity during the 4 wks prior to the study. Results show a significant negative relationship between the frequency of displeasurable instrumental events and both overall and daily ratings of marital satisfaction. Affectional events were not significantly related to long-term satisfaction, contrary to expectation. Rates of displeasurable affectional events correlated negatively with daily ratings of satisfaction at a significant level. The most important finding was the degree to which wives' self-esteem correlated with couple-rated marital satisfaction. The need for further research that examines marriage as a source of mutual support and benefit for both partners is discussed. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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