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Gender Differences in Relationship Awareness and Marital Satisfaction among Young Married Couples

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
  • Communication


Relationship awareness is defined here as thinking about interaction patterns, comparisons, or contrasts between oneself and one's partner in a relationship. This concept provides a frame-work for examining the effects of spouses' thinking and talking about their own relationships on marital satisfaction and contentment with life. During interviews conducted with 42 married couples, wives talked more about their relationships than their husbands did. Wives' marital satisfaction was positively associated with the husbands' degree of relationship talk during the interview. The association between husbands' relationship talk and wives' marital well-being was strongest for wives who talked very little about their relationship. Husbands' marital satisfaction was not related to either spouse's relationship talk. A similar pattern of results was found for contentment with life. Findings are discussed in light of previous research that focuses on gender differences in relationships, in the sense of self and interpersonal communication.

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