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COMM 4471: Communication in Marriage and Family. Spring 2004 Preliminary slides! Subject to change!. Basics of Social Cognition. Social Cognition “..the study of how people make sense of other people and themselves” (Fiske & Taylor, 1991).

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comm 4471 communication in marriage and family

COMM 4471: Communication in Marriage and Family

Spring 2004

Preliminary slides!

Subject to change!

basics of social cognition
Basics of Social Cognition
  • Social Cognition

“..the study of how people make sense of other people and themselves”

(Fiske & Taylor, 1991)

significance of social cognition for communication
Significance of Social Cognition for Communication
  • All human behavior is the result of mental processes
  • Intentional (controlled) behavior is the result of cognition
  • Intentional social behavior is the result of social cognition
key terms in social cognition
Key Terms in Social Cognition
  • Inferences and Attributions
  • Attitudes
  • Schema
  • Self-Concepts and Other-Concepts
  • Motivation and Self-Regulation
  • Automatic and Controlled Processing
  • Affect
inferences and attributions
Inferences and Attributions
  • Inferences
    • the process of gathering information and making a judgment about an entity and its attributes and qualities
  • Attributions
    • explanations for a person’s behavior
  • evaluations of social entities in a person’s environment
  • have a behavioral, a cognitive, and an affective component
  • cognitive structures that represents knowledge of an object, including its attributes and the relationships among them
self other concepts
Self- & Other-Concepts
  • Self-Concept
    • a mental representation of the self, including ideals, desires, history, abilities, obligations, value, etc.
  • Other-Concept
    • a mental representation of another person of similar content
motivation and self regulation
Motivation and Self-Regulation
  • Motivation
    • the driving force behind cognition and behavior, often the attainment of needs and goals
  • Self-Regulation
    • the way in which people direct and control their own behaviors
automatic and controlled processing
Automatic and Controlled Processing
  • Mental (cognitive) processes that occur outside (automatic) or within (controlled) a person’s awareness
  • emotions that persons experience and that have a cognitive and a physiological component
communication systems
Communication Systems
  • Wholeness: Complete interdependence of parts
  • Nonsummativity: System is more than sum of parts
  • Openness: Systems do not exist in isolation
  • Equifinality: Outcomes are not pre-determined by inputs
  • Hierarchy: Systems interact with other systems
parent child interaction
Parent-Child Interaction
  • Both parents & children are predisposed to interact with one another
  • Both parents & children are similarly influential on how they communicate
  • Parent-child interactions are linked to child development in intelligence, social skill, & language acquisition
infant behavior eliciting parental responses
Infant behavior eliciting parental responses
  • Gaze
  • Smiling
  • Distress-Discomfort
  • Crying
  • Avoidance
  • Facial Expressions
  • Vocalizations
  • Gaze
  • Facial Expressions
    • exaggerated in space and time
    • mock surprise
    • frown
  • Vocalizations
  • Gaze
  • Facial Expressions
  • Vocalizations
    • simple syntax
    • short utterances, longer pauses
    • more pitch variations
    • nonsense sounds
  • Gaze
  • Facial Expressions
  • Vocalizations
  • Gaze
    • extended far beyond cultural rules
    • speaker also looks, not only listener

The Strong Bond between Infant & Primary Care Giver

  • Innate (shared with many other animals)
  • Necessary for Survival & Development
  • Characterized by Multi-Stage Reaction to Separation
attachment cont
Attachment (cont.)
  • Necessary for Survival & Development
    • Secure Base Function
    • Save Haven Function
  • Characterized by Multi-Stage Reaction to Separation:
    • Protest
    • Despair
    • Detachment
    • Rebound from Detachment
ainsworth s attachment styles determined by strange situation
Ainsworth’s Attachment Styles(determined by Strange Situation)
  • Secures:

- briefly upset, then happy & satisfied

2) Avoidant

- no emotional response, then avoid mother

3) Anxious/Ambivalent

- very upset, then initially avoidant

pcg s behavior and infant s attachment style
PCG’s Behavior and Infant’s Attachment Style
  • Reliably Available 

Secure Attachment

  • Reliably Unavailable 

Avoidant Attachment

  • Unreliably Available/Over Involved  Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment
kobak s attachment dimensions
Kobak’s Attachment Dimensions









bartholomew s four attachment styles
Bartholomew’s FourAttachment Styles

Model of Self







Of Other





ways of learning
Ways of Learning
  • Classical Conditioning
  • Operant Conditioning
  • Social Learning
classical conditioning
Classical Conditioning
  • Before: CS --/--> R; UCS ----> R
  • Conditioning: UCS + CS ----> R
  • After: CS ----> R

CS = Conditional Stimulus

UCS = Unconditional Stimulus

R = Response

operant conditioning
Operant Conditioning
  • Associating behavior with an outcome through reinforcement
  • Reinforcement
    • positive = presence of outcome
    • negative = absence of outcome
  • Outcome
    • positive = desirable (reward)
    • negative = undesirable (punishment)
social learning
Social Learning
  • Associating behavior with an outcome through observation
  • Observation of
    • presence/absence of positive & negative outcomes
    • approval/disapproval of behavior by socialization agents (incl. significant others)
children s learning
Children’s Learning
  • Children learn in all 3 ways
  • Because social learning requires extensive cognitive representations of social world, social learning is dependent on child’s cognitive development
active vs passive learning
Active vs. Passive Learning
  • Passive Learning
    • focus of traditional learning theories
    • how environment is structured determines what is learned
  • Active Learning
    • focus of social learning theory
    • how learner constructs (perceives) environment determines what is learned
controversy corporal punishment
Controversy: Corporal Punishment
  • What are the arguments for or against corporal punishment from the perspectives of the three learning theories?
  • Based on above, what is your position on corporal punishment?
socialization of functional communication
Socialization of Functional Communication
  • Socialization is based on explanation and modeling
  • Socialization is completed when self-regulation replaces other-regulation
person centered communication
Person Centered Communication
  • The use of an elaborated code that focuses on motivations, feelings, and intentions of individuals and their distinct psychological perspectives.
position centered communication
Position Centered Communication
  • The use of a restricted code that focuses on the identities of others based on conventionally defined social roles and the rules & norms that govern behavior in specific contexts.
communicative development
Communicative Development
  • from egocentric & rigid to increasingly sensitive to psychological states, individual differences, desire for autonomy, and negotiated character of social situations. (p. 44 f)
  • increasingly complex
  • increasingly aware of multiple goals (identity, relationship, & instrumental)
coding regulative and comforting messages
Coding Regulative and Comforting Messages
  • Discouragement of reflection
  • Implicit encouragement of reflection
  • Explicit encouragement of reflection
variables in socialization
Variables in Socialization

Culture, i. e., SES

Parental Cognition

Parental Communication

Children’s Cognition

Children’s Communication

Peer Acceptance

parent adolescent communication
Parent-Adolescent Communication
  • The adolescents’ development of autonomy and independence is a central theme in family communication.
  • Parents play a crucial role in this development by either encouraging or discouraging it.
functions of family communication
Functions of Family Communication
  • Renegotiation of roles, rules, & relationships
  • Encourage identity formation
  • Enhancing of self-esteem
  • Modeling & teaching of problem solving
  • Enabling adolescent decision-making
renegotiate roles rules relationships
Renegotiate Roles, Rules, & Relationships
  • As children become adults, roles, rules & relationships need to adjust
  • Parents must gradually relinquish control over adolescent
    • giving up control too early leaves adolescents susceptible to peer-pressure
    • giving up control to late leads to conflict & rebellion
encourage identity formation
Encourage Identity Formation
  • Identity forms in two-stage process
    • identity crisis
    • identity commitment
  • Stages of identity formation
    • identity achievement (crisis & commitment)
    • foreclosure (early commitment)
    • moratorium (crisis only)
    • identity diffusion (no commitments)
enhancing self esteem
Enhancing Self-Esteem
  • parents’ support and nurturing
  • family cohesion & openness
  • parents’ trust in adolescents’ decisions
  • fathers’ approval more influential
model teach problem solving
Model & Teach Problem Solving
  • positive & constructive communication between parents & adolescents
  • adolescents can practice skills with siblings, although those conflicts are often violent
enable adolescent decision making
Enable Adolescent Decision-Making
  • Three areas of decisions
    • moral
    • conventional
    • personal
two dimensions of family communication
Two Dimensions ofFamily Communication
  • Concept (Conversation) - Orientation

- open discussion of ideas

- family values interaction

  • Socio (Conformity) - Orientation

- children’s adoption of parental values

- family values conformity

significance of conversation orientation
Significance of Conversation Orientation
  • facilitates socialization of children
  • increases cognitive complexity
  • validates children’s opinions, enhances self-esteem
significance of conformity orientation
Significance of Conformity Orientation
  • determines autonomy and independence of children
  • determines children’s decision making
family types
Family Types






Conversation Orientation

family decision making
Family Decision-Making
  • Parenting Styles
  • Decision Making Processes
  • Coalition Building
baumrind s parenting styles
Baumrind’s Parenting Styles
  • Authoritarian
  • Authoritative
  • Permissive
  • shape, control, & evaluate based on set standard
  • value obedience & punish disobedience
  • prefer coercion over justification
  • shape, control, & evaluate based on rational logic
  • value acceptance of rational reasons
  • prefer justification and discussions of reasons
  • are non-punitive, accepting, & affirming
  • value consultation & explanations
  • leave decisions to children
processes of decision making
Processes of Decision Making
  • De Facto
  • Accommodation
  • Consensual
de facto
De Facto
  • no conscious decision making
  • decisions are made in response to internal/external exigencies
  • minimizes interaction, but results are often inferior
  • meet other’s rather than own needs & interests
  • weaker family members are considered
  • maximizes supportive communication, but results not always superior
  • conscious, methodical problem solving effort
  • needs & interests of all family members considered
  • maximizes problem solving communication with superior results
coalition building
Coalition Building
  • sub-systems (dyads) support each other
  • can be dysfunctional
    • scapegoating: parents blame child
    • detouring: child exhibits marital problem
    • triangulation: parent-child coalition against other parent
divorce and children
Divorce and Children
  • Outcomes for children
    • poorer psychological adjustment
    • poorer peer & familial relationships
    • lower SES attainment
    • less marital stability
  • Evidence suggest it is conflict accompanying divorce that leads to outcomes
outcomes due to divorce
Outcomes due to Divorce
  • lower SES
  • social stigma
  • interrupted relationship to parent(s)
outcomes due to conflict
Outcomes due to Conflict
  • lack of problem solving skills
  • loyalty conflicts
  • learning of aggression/hostility
  • loss of affection/respect for parent(s)
  • disruption of parent-child relationship

!! all these outcomes depend on HOW conflict is handled !!

defining conflict
Defining Conflict
  • Psychological
    • perceived incompatibilities in goals
    • goals can be personal, relational, or instrumental
    • associated with negative affect
  • Interpersonal Behavior
    • verbal aggression
    • physical aggression
    • problem solving
specifics of family conflict
Specifics of Family Conflict
  • pervasive due to close physical proximity and shared experiences
  • natural consequence of dynamic and evolving relationships
  • consequential outcomes due to importance of familial relationships
different conflicts in families
Different Conflicts in Families
  • Interparental
  • Parent-Child
  • Sibling
aspects of interparental conflict and child outcomes
Aspects of Interparental Conflict and Child Outcomes
  • intensity
  • frequency
  • physical aggression
  • unresolved conflict
  • parental mental health
  • child’s appraisal of conflict
aspects of parent child conflict and child outcome
Aspects of Parent-Child Conflict and Child Outcome
  • inconsistent discipline
  • warmth of relationship
  • triangulation
aspects of sibling conflict and child outcome
Aspects of Sibling Conflict and Child Outcome
  • parental inequalities in treatment of siblings
  • parental attention
  • emotional climate of family
  • poor parental modeling
conflict coping behaviors
Conflict Coping Behaviors
  • Avoidance
  • Seeking Social Support
  • Venting Negative Feelings
  • momentarily avoids neg. interaction
  • protects from potential abuse
  • leaves conflict unresolved (hostility)
  • decreases relationship satisfaction
seeking social support
Seeking Social Support
  • mitigates negative consequences of conflict interactions
  • leads to advice & less egocentric perspective (opposite possible, though)
venting negative feelings
Venting Negative Feelings
  • cathartic release of emotion
  • pressures other into acquiescence
  • increases intensity of conflict
  • hurts other
  • damages relationships
family type and conflict
Family Type and Conflict
  • Conversation Orientation
    • less avoidance
    • more social support
  • Conformity Orientation
    • more avoidance
    • more venting negative feelings
conflict in consensual families
Conflict in Consensual Families
  • medium-low avoidance
  • high social support
  • high venting negative feelings
conflict in pluralistic families
Conflict in Pluralistic Families
  • very low avoidance
  • high social support
  • low venting negative feelings
conflict in protective families
Conflict in Protective Families
  • very high avoidance
  • low social support
  • very high venting negative feelings
conflict in laissez faire families
Conflict in Laissez-Faire Families
  • high avoidance
  • low social support
  • low venting negative feelings
step families
Step Families
  • Families where one of the adults in the marriage is not the natural parent of at least one of the children in the family.
  • Usually, step families function very differently than natural families and have to be evaluated using different standard.
step family characteristics
Step-Family Characteristics
  • unshared history (loss/past rituals)
  • past parent-child relationships
  • child has multiple parental relationships
  • complex extended family networks
  • ambiguous stepparent-child relationship
conflict in step families
Conflict in Step Families
  • Role Ambiguity
  • Boundary Issues
  • Loyalty Issues
aging family
Aging Family
  • Relationships between Parents & Adult Children
  • Relationships between Siblings
  • Relationships between Grandparents & Grandchildren
parents adult children
Parents & Adult Children
  • High Contact (80%+)
  • Factors Determining Contact
    • proximity
    • affection (parent’s more than child’s)
    • Neediness (of children)
  • Effects of Contact
    • positive for children
    • no effects for parents
adult siblings
Adult Siblings
  • Medium Contact (60% +)
  • Factors Determining Contact
    • proximity
    • family size
    • sex
    • other interpersonal relationships
    • culture
  • Little Effect on Well Being
grandparents grandchildren
Grandparents & Grandchildren
  • Increasingly Relevant Relationship (in 50% of families)
  • Factors Determining Contact
    • proximity
    • age of grandparents & grandchildren
    • gender of grandparents
    • grandparent - parent relationship
styles of grandparenting
Styles of Grandparenting
  • Normative
    • formal
    • fun seeking
    • surrogate parent
    • reservoir of family wisdom
    • distant
  • Nonnormative
    • primary caretakers
    • divorced
    • step-grandparents
grandparents accounts
Grandparents’ accounts
  • Affiliation
    • mutual & GC induced
  • Pride
    • in GC personality and past & future deeds
  • Exchange
    • advice GC & learn from GC
  • Distance
    • geographic, generational, personal
grandparents view
Grandparents’ View
  • GP-GC relationships lead to affiliation, pride, and exchange
  • GP-GC relationships are rewarding, but not central to identity
  • GP-CP relationships more dependent on children & circumstances
social identity theory
Social Identity Theory
  • Identity is significantly determined by group membership
  • Persons consistently compare their groups to other groups
  • Persons seek positive distinctiveness of own group
    • to maintain & increase self-esteem
    • to decrease uncertainty
groups status
Groups & Status

Subordinate Groups can use 3 strategies to increase own status

  • Social Mobility
    • individuals assume identity of other group
  • Social Creativity
    • realign intergroup comparisons
  • Social Competition
    • gain more power for own group
sit age
SIT & Age
  • At least three adult groups
    • young (<30/40)
    • middle age (30/40 -- 65/70)
    • old (> 65/70)
  • Power & Status
    • highest for middle age
    • lower for young and old
sit age cont
SIT & Age (cont.)
  • Group membership is ambiguous
    • boundaries are fuzzy
    • membership is partially subjective
  • Group Characteristics are ambiguous
    • each group has positive and negative characteristics
    • salience of characteristics vary
sit intergenerational comm
SIT & intergenerational comm
  • Old Age negatively valenced
  • Communication Accommodation can reinforce lower status of elderly
    • “communication predicament of aging”
    • patronizing speech
    • results from stereotypical perception of elderly
  • A phase in a romantic relationship in which at least one partner attempts to gain the other’s long-term commitment to the relationship
accounts of courtship
Accounts of Courtship
  • Functions for Researcher:
    • aid understanding of relationship development
    • allow to test myths associated with courtship
  • Functions for Individual:
    • provide sense of stability & continuity
    • provide sense-making framework
reliability of courtship stories
Reliability of Courtship Stories
  • Questionable because:
    • too much detail to remember
    • based on inherently ambiguous events
  • How Courtship Stories change
    • missed detail is substituted
    • based on current state of relationship
    • based on courtship script
  • Retelling Solidifies Changed Stories
types of courtship scripts
Types of Courtship Scripts
  • Cultural
  • Sub-Cultural
  • Idiosyncratic
myth of courtship
Myth of Courtship
  • Courtship follows fixed route
  • Partners idealize and romanticize partner & relationship
  • Partners are naïve about commitment
  • Relationships begin anew at marriage
pathways to marriage
Pathways to Marriage




prolonged pathway
Prolonged Pathway
  • slow increase
  • many up & down turns
  • high conflict throughout dating
  • high ambivalence
  • couples often younger
  • highernetwork resistance (parents)
accelerated pathway
Accelerated Pathway
  • fast increase & some drop-off
  • low conflict throughout dating
  • low ambivalence, high compatibility
  • couples often older
  • lessnetwork resistance (parents)
intermediate pathway
Intermediate Pathway
  • slow, but consistent increase
  • low conflict throughout dating
  • low ambivalence, high compatibility
  • couples often older
  • lessnetwork resistance (parents)
infant vs adult attachment
Infant vs. Adult Attachment
  • Similarities
    • both are adaptations
    • both involve strong emotions (love)
    • similar physiological and neurobiological mechanisms
  • Differences
    • complementary vs. reciprocal
    • reproduction & mating
developing attachment




Attraction & Flirting

Attachment in the making

Falling in Love

Clear cut attachment


Goal corrected partnership

Life as Usual

Developing Attachment
cognition and attachment
Cognition and Attachment
  • Human Functioning requires cognitive representation of:
    • environment
    • self in environment (abilities, impact on E)
  • Regarding attachment, representations:
    • models of others in relationships
    • model of self in relationships
attachment representations
Attachment Representations:
  • models of others in relationships
  • model of self in relationships
  • content of self/other models
    • autobiographical knowledge
    • beliefs and attitudes
    • goals and motives
    • behavioral strategies
    • attachment to others
adult attachment system
Adult Attachment System
  • Consists of several attachment models
  • attachment models are interconnected
  • some attachments are more central
  • central attachments are more influential
  • later models develop from earlier ones
dimensions of marriage types
Dimensions of Marriage Types
  • Interdependence
    • physically, temporally & psychologically
  • Ideology
    • beliefs, standards & values
    • conventional - unconventional
  • Conflict
    • total avoidance - active & open engagement
marriage types
Marriage Types
  • Traditional
    • conventional ideology, high conflict, high interdependence
  • Independent
    • unconventional ideology, high conflict, high interdependence
  • Separate
    • conventional ideology, low conflict, low interdependence
marriage types communication
Marriage Types & Communication
  • Differences in Marital Communication
    • emotional expressiveness
    • instrumental tendencies
    • language use & speech code use
    • attention, acquiescence, presumption
    • NVB: gaze, adaptors, dysfluencies, focus
traditionals communication
Traditionals’ Communication
  • high internal self-disclosure & openness
  • high couple references
  • medium linguistic complexity
  • medium linguistic elaboration
independents communication
Independents’ Communication
  • external & internal self-disclosure & openness
  • high couple references
  • medium linguistic complexity
  • high linguistic elaboration
separates communication
Separates’ Communication
  • low internal & more external self-disclosure & openness
  • low couple references
  • low linguistic complexity
  • low/medium linguistic elaboration
gottman s theory
Gottman’s Theory
  • “…a lasting marriage results from a couple’s ability to resolve the conflicts that are inevitable in any relationship.”
  • Three Marriage Types
    • validating
    • volatile
    • avoiding
conflict styles
Conflict Styles
  • Validating
    • communication centered, empathetic, collaborating
  • Volatile
    • problem centered, egocentric, competitive
  • Avoiding
    • minimizing, egocentric, avoiding
magic ratio 5 1
Magic Ratio (5:1)
  • Marriages are stable as long as positive events outnumber negative events 5:1
  • Magic Ratio the same for all types of marriages
  • Form a small group (3-4 people)
  • Answer: How are Fitzpatrick’s and Gottman’s marriage types related? Justify your answer.
marriage types and conflict
Marriage Types and Conflict
  • Traditionals = validators
    • validate each other, problem solvers
  • Independents=volatile
    • emotional, expressive, like to fight
  • Separates=avoiders
    • usually don’t bother to complain
dual career marriages
Dual Career Marriages

Marriage in which both partners are engaged in work that requires high levels of commitment and have a developmental quality (as to work, which is just a job)

challenges in dc marriages
Challenges in DC Marriages
  • societal vs. personal values
  • identity issues and self-esteem
  • social disapproval
  • colliding demands of life cycles
  • stress due to role overload & conflict
husbands in dc marriages
Husbands in DC Marriages
  • traditional
    • wife shoulders traditional housekeeping & parenting roles
  • participant
    • husband shares child rearing only
  • role-sharing
    • spouses share housekeeping & parenting
typology of dc couples
Typology of DC Couples
  • Accomodators
    • one spouse into career, other into house
  • Adversaries
    • both into career but value house, too
  • Allies
    • both into career, don’t value house
  • Acrobats
    • both value career & house equally
dc couple types
DC Couple Types























determinants of marital communication
Determinants of Marital Communication
  • Internal Factors
  • External Factors
  • Dyadic Factors
determinants of marital communication124
Determinants of Marital Communication
  • Internal
    • ideology
    • beliefs about communication
    • beliefs about relationships
    • idiosyncrasies, i.e., psychopathology
determinants of marital communication125
Determinants of Marital Communication
  • External
    • career demands
    • availability of childrearing support
    • legal status of men, women & marriage
    • role prescriptions for husbands & wives
determinants of marital communication126
Determinants of Marital Communication

External Factors







explanations of dyadic behavior
Explanations of Dyadic Behavior
  • Biological Sex Differences
  • Socialization of Gender Rules
  • Pragmatic Dyadic Requirements
  • Power Differences
evidence for explanations
Evidence for Explanations
  • No evidence for pragmatic explanation
  • Evidence for some sex difference (either biological or socialization)
  • Evidence for power differences as main determinant of behavior
cross cultural communication
Cross-Cultural Communication

Two types of Problems

  • Differences in Behaviors
    • Language
    • Rituals and ritualized behaviors
  • Differences in Assigning Meaning
    • Assumptions about the World in general
    • Assumptions about Human Relationships
cross cultural communication130
Cross Cultural Communication

Three Dimensions of Cultures

  • High Context – Low Context
  • Individualism – Collectivism
  • Power Distance
challenges in cc dating
Challenges in CC Dating
  • less attributional certainty
  • less contact with partner's network
  • less overlapping networks
  • no difference in intimacy or uncertainty
challenges in cc marriages
Challenges in CC Marriages
  • Different Gender Roles
  • Different Ideas about Marriage
  • Different Ideas about Parenting
  • Different Involvement of Families
  • Different Support of Families
family life stages
Family Life Stages
  • Couple w/o children
  • Couple with babies & preschoolers
  • Couple with school-age children
  • Couple with adolescent children
  • Couple launching children
  • Empty nest
  • Retired couple
parenthood marital satisfaction
Parenthood & Marital Satisfaction
  • Changes in Marital Satisfaction
explanations for dissatisfaction
Explanations for Dissatisfaction
  • Childrearing creates added stress
  • Children draw attention away from partner (esp. wives’ attention)
alternative explanations
Alternative Explanations
  • Parents/Nonparents differ in satisfaction before parenthood
  • Children prevent breakup of dissatisfied couples
  • Statistical artifacts
    • cross-sectional research
    • regression toward mean
    • maturation effects
marital behaviors parenthood
Marital Behaviors & Parenthood
  • Division of Labor
  • Leisure & Companionship
  • Socioemotional Behavior
division of labor
Division of Labor
  • More housework for both partners
    • men: 1.9 --> 8.3
    • women: 3.9 --> 28
  • Impact of parenthood
    • men: less satisfied with division of labor & with marriage
    • women: recently married less satisfied with division of labor, no effect on marital satisfaction
leisure companionship
Leisure & Companionship
  • Less time spend on couple-activities
  • Change in doing preferred activities
    • men: less preferred activities
    • women: more preferred activities
  • Consequences:
    • less satisfaction with activities for both
    • no effect on overall marital satisfaction
socioemotional behavior
Socioemotional Behavior
  • Less time spend as couple
  • No change in affection
  • No change in negative behavior
  • No changes in marital satisfaction
parenthood satisfaction model
Parenthood-Satisfaction Model








Leisure/ Companionship

Div. of Labor









dyadic behaviors ciss
Dyadic Behaviors (CISS)
  • AG- Agreement
  • DG- Disagreement
  • CT- Communication Talk
  • MR- Mindreading
  • PS- Problem Solving
  • SS- Summarize Self
  • SO- Summarize Other
  • PF- Expressing Feelings
patterns in conflict
Patterns in Conflict
  • Validation (PF -> PS/AG/DG)
  • Cross-Complaining (PF -> PF)
  • Feeling Probe (MR -> AG/DG)
  • Arguing (DG -> DG/SS)
  • Metacommunication (CT -> CT/AG/DG)
  • Contracting (PS -> AG)
  • Counter Proposing (PS -> PS)
dyadic conflict
Dyadic Conflict
  • Negative impact on dyad’s satisfaction
    • reciprocal negative affect
    • demand-withdrawal patterns
  • Positive Impact on dyad’s satisfaction
    • unilateral and reciprocal agreement
unacceptable behaviors
Unacceptable Behaviors
  • Violence
  • Abuse
  • Infidelity
a definition of violence
A Definition of Violence
  • Any behavior by a person that causes physical harm (e.g., pain, injury) in another
  • This definition is sometimes extended to include psychological harm as well (which is more difficult to assess, however)
  • Marital Violence
    • minor  10%
    • severe  3%
a definition of abuse
A Definition of Abuse

Any extended behavior of intimidation and control by a person that causes sever and/or enduring psychological or physical harm for another because it violates the other’s fundamental personal needs of safety, regard, validation, and autonomy.

abusive behaviors
Abusive Behaviors
  • belittling the other (appearance, intelligence, etc.)
  • controlling the other’s behavior
  • bullying the other
  • controlling the other’s social contacts
  • disregarding the other’s feelings
causes of relational violence
Causes of Relational Violence
  • Psychopathology (sociopathology)
  • Power
    • extension of societal power dynamics
    • individual goal of partners
  • Biology (i.e., evolution)
    • sex differences in aggression
    • sex differences in relational goals
excuses given for violence
Excuses given for Violence
  • Jealousy (~ 65%)
  • Alcohol (~60%)
  • Money (~40%)
  • Children (~35%)
courtship marital violence
Courtship & Marital Violence
  • similar types of violence
  • similar explanations for violence
  • intimacy related to violence
  • 50% of married victims were victims in dating relationships
  • 29% of victims maltreated as children, 50% observed parental violence
conclusions from study
Conclusions from Study
  • Victims of spousal abuse often have history of abuse during dating & childhood
  • Marital & Courtship violence are very similar
  • Should conceptualize Relationship Violence
  • Behavior of functional partner that enables other’s dependency
  • Enabeling behavior
    • controlling
    • nurturing
    • relationship maintenance
inconsistent nurturing as control
Inconsistent Nurturing as Control
  • Functional partner controls dependent through intermittent nurturing
  • Based on Learning Theory
    • nurturing is rewarding
    • withholding nurturing is used to punish dependent (neg. reinforcement)
    • intermittent rewards reinforce behavior
assumptions of inc
Assumptions of INC
  • Learning Theory is accurate
  • Withholding nurturing only available punishment to functional partner
  • Functional partner is weak:
    • low self-esteem
    • low Clalt
    • no other resources
conclusions re codependence
Conclusions re. Codependence
  • Abuse & dependency of one partner are affected by dyadic processes
  • Codependents contribute to abuse & dependency thru enabeling behavior
  • Change in the codependent’s behavior can and does effect change in the behavior of the abuser/dependent
post divorce relationships
Post-Divorce Relationships
  • Frequency of contact declines
  • Content of interactions declines
  • Quality of interactions increases
  • Interactions have no effect on life satisfaction
identity formation in pdr
Identity Formation in PDR
  • Divorce requires a redefinition of identity
  • Factors facilitating redefinition increase satisfaction
  • Factors inhibiting redefinition decrease satisfaction
the big picture
The Big Picture
  • Relationships are central in defining every Person’s life experiences
  • From Cradle to Grave, they define who we are and how we live
the big picture160
The Big Picture