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Predicting Marital Instability from Spouse and Observer Reports of Marital Interaction

Lisa S. Matthews, K. A. S. Wickrama and Rand D. Conger
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Aug., 1996), pp. 641-655
DOI: 10.2307/353725
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353725
Page Count: 15
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Predicting Marital Instability from Spouse and Observer Reports of Marital Interaction
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Abstract

This prospective study examines the relationship between the quality of marital interaction, both as perceived by spouses and as reported by outside observers, and marital instability and divorce in a sample of 436 long-time married couples from the rural Midwest. Discriminant function analysis showed that spousal hostility, net of warmth, predicted with 80% accuracy which couples would divorce or not divorce within a year and with 88% accuracy which couples would be in the two most extreme marital groups (most stable and least stable). In a structural equation model with latent constucts, we found that observer reports of behavioral interactions are related to marital instability both directly and indirectly through partners' perceptions of one another's behaviors.

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