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Marital Quality and Physiological Arousal: How Do I Love Thee? Let My Heartbeat Count the Ways

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The current study examines whether a two-dimensional indicator of marital quality advances empirical understanding of the association between marital quality and physiological arousal. Thirty-two married couples completed baseline and problem-solving interactions while both spouses' heart rates and skin conductance were continuously monitored. Each spouse's changes in physiology from the baseline to problem-solving task served as the independent variables. Dependent variables included a single-dimension measure of marital quality (Dyadic Adjustment Scale DAS; Spanier, 1976), and a two-dimensional measure of marital quality (Positive and Negative Quality in Marriage Scale PANQIMS; Fincham & Linfield, 1997). Results indicated that changes in physiological arousal during a problem-solving marital interaction accounted for significant unique variance in wives', but not husbands' ratings of negative marital quality. Discussion focuses on implications for the social psychophysiological model of marriage and the use of two-dimensional measures of marital quality in the study of marriage.
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Keywords: couples; marital quality; marriage; physiology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Idaho State University, Idaho, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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