Perceptions of Conflict in the First Year of Marriage: How Important are Similarity and Understanding?

Published on Feb 1, 1993in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
· DOI :10.1177/0265407593101001
Linda K. Acitelli23
Estimated H-index: 23
Elizabeth Douvan7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UM: University of Michigan)
+ 0 AuthorsJoseph Veroff36
Estimated H-index: 36
Perceptions of self and spouse play a central role in marital relationships. Using data from 219 newlywed couples, we examined the relative importance (to marital well-being) of partners' similarity and understanding of conflict styles. These data include reports of behaviors of the self and spouse during their most recent disagreement. Behaviors were categorized as either constructive or destructive to resolving the conflict, and data from each category were analyzed separately. Measures of perceptions of similarity based on one spouse's report, actual similarity between spouses' separate reports and spouses' accuracy in reporting (or `understanding' of) each other's behaviors were derived from these reports. Consistent with earlier studies, perceived similarity was shown to be higher than actual similarity and was a stronger positive predictor of marital well-being. This finding highlights the importance of partners believing that they are similar. The strongest predictor of marital well-being for wives...
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