What's love got to do with it? Perceptions of marital positivity in H-to-W aggressive, distressed, and happy marriages

Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Karin A. Schlee, Candice M. Monson, Miriam Ehrensaft, Richard Heyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Husbands' and wives' perceptions of positive relationship behaviors and interactions (e.g., caring gestures, reasons for staying married, frequency of positive communication) were assessed in a sample of maritally happy (H), maritally distressed but non-aggressive (D/NA), and maritally distressed and husband-to-wife physically aggressive (D/H-to-W) couples. As expected, the relationship positivity reports of the two groups of maritally distressed couples differed from the happily married couples. In addition, D/H-to- W spouses gave different reasons for staying married than did D/NA spouses (i.e., love versus family roles and commitments). Spouses in D/H-to-W aggressive marriages were also less likely to report using intimate language with their partner than were spouses in either of the other two groups. Few gender differences were found. Results underscore the importance of considering the role of love and intimacy in husband-to-wife aggressive and distressed marriages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1998

Keywords

  • Distress
  • Gender
  • Marriage
  • Positivity
  • Spouse abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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