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Spouses' Perceptions of Aggression and Associations With Relationship Satisfaction

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We investigated whether residual partner perceptions (after controlling spouses' self-reports) of physical and psychological aggression predicted marital satisfaction in 188 heterosexual newlywed couples over the first 6 months of marriage. Husbands' and wives' reports of physical and psychological aggression were moderately associated, highlighting the mutuality of aggression and consensus between spouses' reports. Results of path analyses in structural equation modeling (SEM) indicated that to the extent that wives perceived their husbands as more physically and psychologically aggressive than spouses self-reported, wives were less maritally satisfied. To the extent that husbands perceived their wives as more psychologically aggressive than spouses self-reported, husbands were marginally less maritally satisfied. Generally, spouses' self- and partner reports of physical or psychological aggression did not predict partners' marital satisfaction or changes in marital satisfaction over 6 months. However, results suggested that at least concurrently, spouses' perceptions of partners' aggressive behavior play an important role in marital satisfaction, and this may be especially true for wives.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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