Couple Conflict Behavior: Disentangling Associations With Relationship Dissatisfaction and Intimate Partner Violence

Richard E. Heyman, Amy M.Smith Slep, Jill Giresi, Katherine J.W. Baucom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates associations between (a) relationship satisfaction and intimate partner violence (IPV: psychological, physical, and sexual) and (b) observed couple communication behavior. Mixed-sex couples (N = 291) were recruited via random digit dialing. Partners completed the Quality of Marriage Index (Norton, 1983), the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus et al., 1996), and one female-initiated and one male-initiated 10-min conflict conversations. Discussions were coded with Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System, 2nd Generation (Heyman et al., 2015). As hypothesized, lower satisfaction was associated with more hostility (p =.018) and less positivity (p <.001); more extensive IPV was associated with more hostility (p <.001). For negative reciprocity, there was a dissatisfaction × IPV extent × conversation-initiator interaction (p <.006). Results showed that conflict behaviors of mixed-sex couples are related to the interplay among gender, satisfaction, and the severity of couple-level IPV. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family Issues
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • couple communication
  • intimate partner violence
  • observation
  • relationship satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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