Intimacy, spouse perception, and marital satisfaction

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Intimacy, spouse perception, and marital satisfaction
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Personal Satisfaction   ( mesh )
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1993.
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Bibliography: leaves 64-68.
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by Anita L. Salamon.
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Vita.

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INTIMACY, SPOUSE PERCEPTION, AND MARITAL SATISFACTION


By

ANITA L. SALMON


























A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1993















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I wish to thank Dr. Hugh C. Davis, my committee

chairman, for his encouragement and support both in my

clinical training and in completion of this study. He has

been most important to me as a mentor throughout graduate

school. I have the greatest affection for and gratitude to

him. Truly, without his guidance I may never have completed

graduate school. I wish to thank Dr. Russell Bauer and Dr.

Michael Geisser for taking time, regardless of their busy

schedules, give assistance and direction regarding

methodology and statistics. I wish to express appreciation

to Dr. Robert Ziller for his support both as a member of this

committee and as an instructor. His enthusiasm for

scholarship is contagious. I wish to thank Dr. Simon Johnson

for his kind willingness to participate as a member of my

committee.

I would like to thank Martha Breen, without whom I could

not have collected data in two places at once. She has

generously given assistance in many ways throughout this

study. My family and friends have provided immeasurable

support; I offer warm-hearted thanks to them. I offer

special thanks to Carol and Adam Bishop, Andrea Alentado,

Laura Cobb, Melodye Gaskin, and Ben Stevens for providing









concrete assistance that made completion of this study

possible. Thanks go to my beloved friend and colleague,

Thrower Starr (soon to be Dr. Starr) with whom I have learned

more than I ever thought possible.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

BgA

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . ii

ABSTRACT . . ... .. vi

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION . . 1

Interpersonal Perception ..... .. .. 3
Intimacy . . 11
Interpersonal Assessment . .. 15
Methodological Issues. ... .. 22
Hypotheses . . 23

2 METHOD . 25

Subjects . ... . 25
Instruments ... . 26
Procedure .... .. . 30
Analyses . . 31

3 RESULTS. .. . . 34

4 DISCUSSION . ... 43

Introduction . . 43
Correlations between Interpersonal Perception
Variables and Intimacy Factors ...... 44
Relationship between Discrepancy in
Interpersonal Perception and Marital
Intimacy and Marital Satisfaction .... 47
Relationship between Spousal Similarity
and Marital Satisfaction ... 52
Conclusion . . 53

5 SUMMARY. . . .... 56










APPENDICES

A EXAMPLES OF ITEMS FROM BENJAMIN'S SASB 58

B SUBSCALE OF SPOUSE OBSERVATION CHECKLIST 60

C TABLES OF MEANS AND CORRELATIONS OF SCORES
FOR INTERPERSONAL VARIABLES. .. 62

REFERENCES . . .. .64

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. . .. 69














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of
the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

INTIMACY, SPOUSE PERCEPTION AND MARITAL SATISFACTION

By

Anita L. Salamon

May 1993

Chairman: Hugh C. Davis
Major Department: Clinical and Health Psychology

Interpersonal perception in relationships has been

widely studied in a variety of Social Science fields. The

research literature on marital satisfaction suggests that

incongruent, distorted perceptions of one's spouse or of

one's marital relationship distinguishes a maritally

satisfied couple from a dissatisfied one. Although

researchers have utilized a variety of methods to attempt to

explore and understand this phenomenon, the multiplicity of

instruments used has served to confound rather than to

clarify the issue. Empirically developed interpersonal

assessment instruments, such as Benjamin's Structural

Analysis of Social Behavior, have recently contributed a

methodologically sound approach with which to explore

spouses' interpersonal perceptions within the marital

relationship. Recent research has also more clearly defined








components of marital intimacy and its relationship to

marital satisfaction.

The present study explored discrepancies in spouses'

interpersonal perception, utilizing the Structural Analysis

of Social Behavior, and explored the relationship of those

discrepancies to marital intimacy and to marital

satisfaction. Results indicated that there was a significant

inverse relationship between discrepancy in interpersonal

perception and both marital intimacy and marital

satisfaction. The greater the discrepancy, the lower the

marital intimacy or the lower the marital satisfaction; the

less the discrepancy, the greater the marital intimacy or the

greater the marital satisfaction. Specific areas of

discrepancy of interpersonal perception, such as affectionate

behaviors or controlling behaviors, were identified.

Additionally, component factors of marital intimacy which

correlated significantly with interpersonal perception

discrepancy variables were identified. Conclusions suggest

that using such specifically designed interpersonal

assessment instruments to measure relationship phenomena

could contribute important information to the field of

interpersonal perception and marital relationships.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

There has been interest in studying marital

relationships and marital satisfaction for years. The

earliest scientific investigation took place in the early

1920s, and the results indicated that there were gender

differences in variables which predicted marital satisfaction

(Hamilton, 1948). The first published study in marital

research was designed with the intention of "testing the

myths about marital satisfaction" (Terman et al. 1938, in

Gottman, 1979, p. 2). The value of their research was in

indicating the importance of looking at variables that

described the marital relationship rather than at individual

personality variables of spouses in order to predict marital

satisfaction. Another historical study which has

significance for the study of marital relationships today is

Locke's (1951) 1950 study in which he compared two groups:

one divorced and one "happily married." Of major importance

in Locke's early study was that it also revealed that the

important variables in determining marital satisfaction were

variables which described the marital relationship and that

spouses' perceptions of each other and of the relationship

were key. In Gottman's (1979) book on marital interaction,









he described that research in sociology, family systems,

developmental psychology, and social learning areas have all

contributed to current research in marital relationships and

marital satisfaction. He indicated that these varied

research traditions contributed findings which indicated that

a good deal of the variance in predicting marital

satisfaction could be accounted for by observing the

communication style of a couple as the couple resolved

conflict. They also contributed findings that a couple's

perception of how well their spouses fulfill their marital

expectations was another very important variable in the

prediction of marital satisfaction. These research

traditions also contributed the notion of the importance of

the interdependence of spouses behaviors and of their

perceptions. It is accepted, then, that in examining marital

satisfaction, important areas to examine are the

interdependence of the spouses in relationship, their

communication, and their perceptions.

In the study of interpersonal perception in marriage

various disciplines using corresponding varied methodologies

have generally supported the theory that congruence of

perception between spouses is related to marital

satisfaction. Accordingly, distorted or incongruent

perception is related to marital dissatisfaction (Sillers,

1985). It is accepted that adequate intimacy is also

important to marital satisfaction (Waring et al., 1981), and









some studies have found a relationship between level of

marital intimacy and spouses' self-disclosure (Waring et al.

1981). It is generally believed that spouses' self-

disclosure and communication are related to spouses'

perception and to spouses' marital satisfaction (Waring,

1988; Gottman et al, 1976; Beck, 1988). Few have examined

the relation between interpersonal perception and intimacy.

Interpersonal Perception

In a review of research on interpersonal perception,

Sillers (1985) states,

the theory of interpersonal perception is as
diffuse as the research literature, [and] studies
of interpersonal perception within personal
relationships are so scattered that a common agenda
addressing basic issues has yet to evolve. ..
Consequently, relatively little insight has been
shed on interpersonal perception within personal
relationships beyond [general outlines.]" (pp.
277-278)

Sillers reviewed research from a number of different

disciplines and reports that research suggests "that a

general dimension of distorted, inaccurate, or incongruent

perception differentiates incompatible relationships from

happy, well-adjusted ones" (p. 277). Researchers have

examined such areas as spouses' communication, attributions,

"similarity," and "understanding" as they relate to

interpersonal perception and to marital satisfaction.

Early theorizing and research in interpersonal

perception by Dymond (1954) and Laing et al. (1966)

established some definitions and methods which have been used









in much of the research in interpersonal perception since

that time and are still currently used in some form. The

methodology involved having a couple complete an assessment

instrument for themselves and then again as they thought

their spouse would answer. (Dymond had spouses answer

selected questions from the MMPI, and Laing et al. created a

questionnaire related to relationships.) Laing et al. added

one other prediction for couples to make: Each spouse

answered how s/he thinks his or her spouse will answer for

him/her. Dymond labelled what she measured "empathy" or

"understanding" which is "the extent to which one individual

perceives another as the latter perceives himself" by

comparing one spouse's predicted answers for the other with

the other's actual answers (1954, p. 164). She measured what

she termed "assumed similarity" by measuring "the congruence

between the descriptions given by one spouse of him/herself

and his/her description of the other spouse" (1954, p. 16).

"Similarity" was measured by the congruence between the

actual MMPI scores of the individuals. Laing et al.

described a "spiral of reciprocal perspectives" in which "one

or both persons may spiral off into third, fourth, or

even fifth levels of what we have suggested may be called

metaperspectives" (1966, p. 23). For example, Laing et al.

said, "My field of experience is, however, filled not only by

my direct view of myself (ego), and of the other (alter), but

of my view of the other's view of me" (1966, p.









4). Laing et al. (1966) determined what they labelled

spouses "agreement" or "disagreement" on issues by examining

the concordance of the spouses' personal, individual scores.

They determined what they called "understanding" by comparing

one spouse's direct view with the other spouse's

metaperspective, which is that spouse's view of the other's

view of an issue. They determined what they called "feeling

of being understood" by comparing one spouse's direct

perspective with his/her metaperspective, i.e., what the

first spouse thinks his/her spouse's view of the first

spouse's view of the issue.

The point of the above detail is to remind one of the

complexity of interpersonal relationships and of the

complexity of perceptions in interpersonal relationships and

of the necessary complexity of research and of assessment

instruments involved in gaining understanding of them.

Sillers (1985) stressed that "the study of interpersonal

perception should call attention to the interpersonal and

interdependent nature of perceptions within relationships"

(p. 279). The methodologies of Dymond (1954) and Laing et

al. (1966) methodologies attempted to account for individuals

and for individuals within relationships.

Laing et al. (1966) found that their assessment

differentiated between couples in disturbed and nondisturbed

marriages, with couples in nondisturbed marriages evincing

less "disjunction" or more "concordance" of perceptions.









They found couples with disturbed relationships to be in

"more disagreement, have more misunderstanding," and to "feel

misunderstood"--but correctly so, because they actually were

misunderstood. Dymond (1954) found significant differences

between happily married couples and unhappily married couples

in "understanding," meaning that happily married spouses were

more accurate in predicting how their mates would respond to

selected questions from the MMPI. She found that marital

happiness and "accuracy of perception" were significantly

correlated. Dymond also found that happily married spouses

were significantly more similar than were unhappily married

couples. She found no relationship between "assumed

similarity" and marital happiness.

Research in interpersonal perception has utilized

methodology similar to that outlined by Laing et al. (1966)

and Dymond (1954), most often utilizing different assessment

instruments to measure such things as congruence of spouses'

perceptions of expected roles, congruence of spouses'

perceptions of their communication, and congruence of

spouses' perceptions of attitudes and situations. Numerous

studies have found a significant positive relationship

between measures of congruence of perceptions and/or marital

satisfaction (Arias & O'Leary, 1985; Ferguson & Allen, 1978;

Fields, 1983; Genshaft, 1980; Newmark et al., 1977). Several

studies have found significant associations between actual

similarity of spouses and marital satisfaction (Dymond, 1954;









Newmark et al., 1977; White & Hatcher, 1984). Some studies

have found gender differences in the relationship of

perceptual congruence to marital satisfaction. Luckey (1960)

found that marital satisfaction was significantly related to

congruence of the husband's perception of himself with his

wife's perception of him. Utilizing ratings of role

expectation on the Interpersonal Checklist, Kotlar (1965)

found a number of significant differences between husbands

and wives and between satisfied and unsatisfied spouses. She

found that congruence of perception was significantly related

to the husband's and the couple's marital adjustment score

but not to the wife's marital adjustment score. Bochner,

Krueger, and Chmielewski (1982) found that accuracy of

perception of role expectation did not relate to marital

satisfaction but that there was a significant negative

association between husbands' metaperceptions and marital

satisfaction. A discrepancy between a husband's role

expectation and the wife's actual role enactment correlated

negatively with marital satisfaction. Plechaty (1987) found,

generally, that satisfied spouses differed significantly from

dissatisfied spouses in perceptual congruence of attitudes

and situations related to marriage. Satisfied spouses had

significantly more congruence of perceptions. He found that

wives were more accurate in predicting husbands' responses

and that wives' accuracy was significantly related to marital

satisfaction.









In his review of research related to interpersonal

perception in relationships, Sillers (1985) cited some

methodological problems with the research on interpersonal

perception and understanding (cited in Cronbach, 1955). One

issue was the way various scores were computed which resulted

in confounding of scores in some studies. Cronbach discussed

the problems inherent in "giving psychological interpretation

to mathematical artifacts" (1955, p. 177). For example,

Cronbach discussed problems in labeling such constructs as

"understanding," "similarity," "accuracy of perception" based

upon one spouse predicting how another would respond. He

posited that these scores included various sources of

variation and are uninterpretable as such constructs.

Sillers et al. (1984) conducted research taking into account

the methodological problems by attempting to operationalize

the concept of "understanding" between spouses and aimed at

addressing the issue of the effect of communication on

understanding and marital compatibility. Their results

differed greatly from most of the previous research. Sillers

et al. stressed the preliminary nature of their studies;

however, they noted that the results suggested that

spouses are not highly accurate at judging certain
perceptions held by their partners; previous
studies have probably overgeneralized the relation
between understanding and compatibility in
marriage, spouses make inferential biases in their
perceptions of communication, and perception
influences the relationship between understanding,
communication, and marital satisfaction. (p. 293)









It is important to note that other researchers have also

taken into account the problems with methodology (Dymond,

1954; Newmark et al., 1977; Tiggle et al., 1982) and have

still found significant associations between congruence of

spouses' perceptions or "understanding" and marital

satisfaction. Another major methodological problem which

plagues research in this area is the use of different

assessment instruments in different studies.

Sillers (1985) and others have related research in

interpersonal perception and research in interpersonal

attributions. Sillers quoted Heider (1958) to define

attributions as "constructs used by naive social actors to

describe, explain, and predict social interaction" (p. 279).

Generally, the attributional literature which deals with

attributions in marriage examines spouses' attributions of

traits or motives to each other or with the assignation of

blame for conflict. Sillers described attribution and

"understanding" (as defined by researchers in interpersonal

perception) as being interdependent but separate phenomena.

Bradbury and Fincham (1990), in an article on attributions in

marriage, stressed that there is a distinction between

attributions and interpersonal perception, citing that

attribution research is more concerned with "explanations for

relationship events." Certain aspects of the research on

attributions are relevant to the present discussion.









Sillers (1985) cited numerous studies in interpersonal

perception in marriage which indicate that "understanding" is

not necessarily related to marital satisfaction but that the

congruence of perceptions is primary. Attributional research

supports this notion (Baucom et al., 1989; Bradbury &

Fincham, 1990). These authors have pointed out that in order

to judge accuracy of perception, one would need readily

objectifiable norms against which to judge, and such criteria

do not exist. Baucom et al. (1989) found that differences in

attributions between distressed and nondistressed spouses are

indicative of different psychological processes and do not

mirror an external reality: The differences are evident when

the same standard stimuli events are presented to such

spouses.

Sillers (1985) summarized studies on attributions in

marital relationships as supporting general attributionall

biases" and "actor-observer differences" typically found in

research on attributions. However, the literature on

attributions in relation to marital satisfaction indicates

that there are greater attributional differences between

spouses in conflictual versus nonconflictual relationships.

"Dissatisfied spouses are more blaming of each other than are

satisfied spouses," and dissatisfied spouses are also more

discrepant in attributions of intent of communication than

are satisfied spouses (p. 286). Bradbury and Fincham (1990)

found that the research on attributions in marriage generally









supported these findings. They stated that "dissatisfied

spouses, compared with satisfied spouses, make attributions

for the partner's behavior that cast it in a negative light"

(1990, p. 1). There also appear to be gender differences in

the relationship between attributional bias and marital

satisfaction, but none are consistent. Sillers (1985) cited

several studies indicating gender differences in the

relationship between attributions and marital satisfaction,

reporting that wives' attributions were "responsible" for the

relationship between "attributions for blame and conflict"

and "marital satisfaction" (pp. 286-287). Sillers reported

that marital counseling programs had been developed on the

assumption that faulty attributions caused marital problems.

However, Sillers (1985) and Bradbury and Fincham (1990) have

pointed out that one can make no causal implications based on

research to date. Bradbury and Fincham pointed out that

researchers have posited two contrary causal theories: that

attributions causally influence marital satisfaction and that

the emotional tone of interpersonal relationships causally

influences the attributions that occur. For the purposes of

this study, the significantly greater incongruence of

perceptions for dissatisfied spouses cited in the

attributional research is of interest.

Intimacy

Intimacy has been identified as an important aspect of

marriage. It has been found that there is a significant









correlation between level of intimacy and marital adjustment

(Waring et al., 1981). The importance of intimacy has also

been revealed in studies linking lack of optimal marital

intimacy to depression and other nonpsychotic emotional

illness (Essex et al., 1985; Waring, 1982). In his early

research, Waring et al. (1981) operationally defined intimacy

as "a psychological process within a marital relationship

[which is] determined in part by strong ego identity,

disengagement from the family of origin, and accurate

perception of spouse" (p. 169). Accurate perception was

measured by comparing spouses' ratings of themselves and each

other on an adjective checklist. Waring et al. (1981) found

that accurate spousal perception was significantly correlated

with "intimacy" as measured by the "affection" scale of the

Fundamentals of Interpersonal Relations Orientation Scale

(FIRO-B) (Schultz, 1960). Affection on this instrument is

defined as "a spouse's effort to become close and express

friendly and affectionate feelings and try to be personal and

intimate." Waring and Reddon (1983) found intimacy to be a

multidimensional construct which is in itself a "primary

dimension" in the prediction of marital satisfaction. A

number of studies examined the relationship of self-

disclosure to marital intimacy (Chelune et al., 1984; Waring

et al., 1981; Waring & Chelune, 1983). It was posited that

self-disclosure and intimacy are not synonymous but that

self-disclosure is "a major determinant" of intimacy (Waring









& Chelune, 1983). Several authors have found significant

relationships between self-disclosure and marital

satisfaction (Chelune et al., 1984; Davidson et al., 1983;

Dean & Lucas, 1978; Waring & Chelune, 1983). In later

studies, Waring and Chelune (1983) and Chelune et al. (1984)

utilized the Self-Disclosure Coding System (Chelune 1975)

and, through a series of stepwise regression analyses, found

that self-disclosing behaviors accounted for 50% of the

variance in composite intimacy scores. They reported that

the four facets or dimensions of intimacy most influenced by

self-disclosure were "compatibility," defined as "the sharing

of background, attitudes, activities, and goals"; "intimate

behaviors," undefined; "identity," defined as the couple's

opinions about themselves compared to other couples"; and

"expressiveness," defined as "the sharing of private

thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, as well as the capacity to

communicate about the relationship" (Waring & Chelune, 1983,

p. 184). Chelune (in Waring, 1988) defined self-disclosure

as "a process of making ourselves known to other people by

verbally revealing personal information." Waring (1988) has

developed a short-term marital therapy program based on what

he calls "cognitive self-disclosure." Several preliminary

studies suggest this therapy results in decreases in

nonpsychotic emotional illness and results in increases in

intimacy and marital satisfaction. Other theorists have

stressed approaches to marital therapy which emphasize









communication skills aimed at increasing understanding and

intimacy (Beck, 1988; Gottman et al., 1976). Beck (1988)

posits that "how one spouse perceives and interprets what the

other does can be far more important in determining marital

satisfaction than those actions themselves" and emphasizes

that his cognitive approach to marital therapy "focuses on

the way [dissatisfied] mates perceive, misperceive, and

fail to perceive each other, and the way they communicate,

miscommunicate, and fail to communicate (pp. 17-18)."

Gottman et al. (1976) based their model of marital

communication therapy on numerous marital interaction

research studies (see Gottman, 1979; Gottman & Krokoff, 1989;

Gottman & Levenson, 1986; and Levenson & Gottman, 1983, for

complete reviews of this research). Gottman et al. (1976)

stated that in their research they have attempted "to

describe systematically what it is nondistressed couples do

differently than distressed couples to resolve marital

conflict and how they themselves perceive the messages they

exchange." In general, Gottman et al. (1976) suggest that

their studies supported a "communication deficit explanation

of marital distress" (p. xv). Results indicated significant

differences between maritally satisfied and maritally

dissatisfied spouses. They measured the spouses' ratings of

the positivity of their communicative intent as well as the

impact of their spouses' communication on them. There were

no between-group differences for satisfied and dissatisfied









husbands and wives in positivity of intent; however,

distressed husbands and wives indicated significantly less

positive impact of their spouses' communication than that of

satisfied husbands and wives.

Intimacy has been related to marital satisfaction, and

it has been suggested that self-disclosure accounts for much

of the variance in composite intimacy scores on the Waring

Intimacy Questionnaire (Waring & Chelune, 1983). What has

been called self-disclosure and communication and "accurate

perception" and spousal "understanding" have also been

related to marital satisfaction. Intimacy is a term which

has been used by many theorists in the field of marital

research and therapy, and it has recently been operationally

defined and in several carefully designed studies has been

found to be a multifaceted construct predictive of martial

satisfaction (Waring & Reddon, 1983). Although numerous

theorists link interpersonal perception to intimacy, few have

examined the relationship between spousal perception and

intimacy using valid and reliable instruments.

Interpersonal Assessment

Laing et al. (1966), Sillers (1985), and a number of

others have emphasized the complexity and interdependence of

interpersonal relationships. Others have stressed their view

of the value of the development of a system of measurement of

interpersonal phenomena for the purpose of scholarly

investigation, for assessment, for diagnosis, and for









treatment (Benjamin, 1974; Carson, 1969; Leary, 1957). (See

Wiggins (1982) for a review of interpersonal assessment

models.). The models of interpersonal measurement that these

authors proposed were circumplex models. The early

circumplex models were basically circular representations of

interpersonal behavior along two axes (Wiggins, 1982). Leary

(1957), who was among the first to develop an interpersonal

classification system, described these axes as dimensions of

power and affiliation. Others described the axes as

dimensions of "Dominance vs. Submission" and "Love vs. Hate"

or a continuum of "Control" and a continuum of "Affection"

(Wiggins, 1982). In theory, descriptors at points along the

axes and around the circumplex represented various empirical

combinations of the dimensions represented by the axes,

adjacent descriptors being more highly correlated than

descriptors which are nonadjacent. In most circumplex

models, the descriptors at either end of the axes or at

either end of a diagonal of the interpersonal circumplex tend

to be bipolar opposites. Leary (1957) added to these

dimensions a theory of "levels" of measurement. He proposed

that each dimension be measured at five different levels:

public level, conscious level, private level, level of the

unexpressed, and level of values. Others added the notion of

a direction of social perception or behavior such as acting

toward self or other. Theoretically, it is possible to code









any interpersonal behavior according to these various aspects

(Wiggins, 1982).

Benjamin (1974) has developed and refined an empirically

sound and theoretically sophisticated system of interpersonal

assessment. The Structural Analysis of Social Behavior

(SASB) is a circumplex model which allows description of

perception of interpersonal behavior along two axes which

measure degree of affiliation or interdependence and on three

"surfaces" which measure a focus of an interpersonal event:

focus toward other, which involves transitive action; focus

on self, which involves intransitive action or a reactive

state; and an interpsychic focus which accounts for an

introjection of how other treats self. Benjamin (1974)

points out that the notion of introjection or that "one

treats oneself the way one has been treated by significant

others" is supported by psychoanalytic as well as

sociological theorists (p. 397). She describes parental

behavior as being prototypic of transitive action described

by the first surface ("doing something to, for, or about the

other person" (p. 128)). She describes children's behavior

as being prototypic of intransitive action. This second

surface or focus was designed to describe actions

"complementary" to the first surface, and, although

complementary behaviors are supposed to "invite" each other,

neither is considered more important or more "responsible" in

an interpersonal interaction.









On all three surfaces the horizontal axis represents

degree of affiliation. Points along the axis in each

direction measure degree of affiliation, from zero to

positive or negative nine. Positive affiliation scores

measure degree of hostility; negative affiliation scores

measure degree of friendliness. The vertical axis on all

three surfaces measures degree of interdependence, ranging

from autonomy or independence at the extreme negative point

on the axis to enmeshment at the extreme positive point on

the axis. Benjamin's (1974, 1984) system includes

definitions and measurement of complementarity, opposites,

and anthesis of interpersonal behaviors. Complementarity, as

mentioned earlier, reflects behavior coded on the same points

of the circumplex on different surfaces, e.g., submissive

behavior on surface two is the complement of dominant

behavior on surface one. Opposite behaviors are represented

by points which are 180 degrees from each other on the same

surface, e.g., emancipate is the opposite of dominate. The

antithesis of a behavior is defined as "opposite to the

complement" of a behavior (1984, p. 135). One might want to

attempt an anthetical behavior if one wanted to change the

behavior of someone acting toward oneself by "inviting" them

to act in a complementary way, e.g., the anthisis of

"intrudes, blocks, restricts person" is "assert on own" which

has the complement "you can do it fine" (1984, p. 135).









The SASB has been designed to be utilized in direct

behavioral coding or with self-report questionnaires which

can be used by any number of "significant others" in the

present or past tense. The self-report measures enable one

to utilize a computer scoring program which scores individual

answers and creates a plot or a pattern which it compares

with 21 different theoretical curves and indicates with which

curve the data correlate most highly. This enables one to

indicate with a psychological label the nature of the

relationship, e.g., Ambivalent, Control, Self-love. Three

scores, called Pattern coefficients, are also computed. They

indicate the degree to which the data are located along the

horizontal (affiliation) axis or the vertical

(interdependence) axis. They reflect the extent to which the

relationship is characterized by each dimension. These are

called the "Attack Pattern," the "Control Pattern," and the

"Conflict Pattern." Scores for the Attack Pattern indicate

to what extent the relationship is characterized by scores

falling along the horizontal axis of affiliation. Negative

Attack coefficients indicate the extent to which behaviors

fall on the affectionate pole of the horizontal axis.

Positive Attack coefficients indicate the extent to which

behaviors fall on the attack pole of the horizontal axis.

Scores for the Control Pattern indicate to what extent the

relationship is characterized by scores falling on the

vertical axis of interdependence. Negative Control









coefficients indicate the extent to which behaviors fall on

the autonomy pole of the vertical axis. Positive Control

coefficients indicate the extent to which behaviors fall on

the enmeshment pole of the vertical axis. Conflict

coefficients indicate the extent to which an individual

endorsed behaviors which fell at both opposing poles of

either axis. Positive Conflict coefficients indicate the

extent to which behaviors consistently fall on both

interdependency and autonomy dimensions of the vertical axis.

Negative Conflict coefficients indicate the extent to which

behaviors consistently fall on both affection and attack

dimensions of the horizontal axis (see Appendix A for

examples of SASB items).

Benjamin (1988) stressed that the SASB measures

perception. She indicated that interobserver discrepancies

in perception may be clinically important information and

that "it is important to measure and to compare and contrast

different perceptions when trying to make interpersonal

diagnoses" (p. 45). Although Benjamin describes the SASB as

a clinical instrument, its relevance for nonclinical

populations has been demonstrated in her research.

One of the problems often cited in research in

interpersonal perception is the lack of consistency in

instruments used and of what is being measured. The SASB

offers a well-validated and empirically sound instrument

designed specifically to evaluate perception of behavior in









interpersonal relationships. Its use in this type of

research could certainly be of benefit.

The SASB has been used most frequently with clinical

populations, primarily with patients, their families, and

therapists. Despite its apparent applicability, it has been

used only several times in assessing aspects of marital

relationships. Essex et al. (1985) utilized the SASB in two

related studies to assess the relationship of the perceived

quality of their intimate relationships to depression in

older women. Controlling for age, education, income, and

marital status, the authors found that some interpersonal

dimensions of the women's significant relationships predicted

depression. They compared the women's perceptions of their

own behavior toward their spouse or significant other in

their relationships to their perceptions of the behavior of

their spouse or significant other to themselves. Generally,

women, who saw their spouses or significant other as being

less friendly and affectionate than themselves and as being

less consistent than they, were more depressed. (In this

study, the authors labeled the interpersonal dimensions as

"perceived intimacy," although the SASB has not been related

to any independent measure of intimacy.) In another study,

Chiles et al. (1980) utilized the SASB and certain other

measures to compare two groups of couples who presented to a

clinic with problems of sexual dysfunction: One group had a

member who was alcoholic and the other did not. Results









indicated that in both groups husbands saw themselves as

being more friendly and giving than did wives. Wives saw

themselves as acting more negatively toward their spouses.

Between group differences in interpersonal patterns of

relating were significant. Also of particular interest are

results indicating a significant discrepancy in perceptions

of husbands and wives in the group with the alcoholic member.

Husbands saw themselves as significantly more submissive than

did wives. The authors point out the clinical usefulness of

utilizing the SASB in such interpersonal assessment.

Apparently the SASB, which allows systematic examination

of husbands' and wives' perceptions of their own and their

spouses behavior in their relationship, is capable of

differentiating subtle interpersonal differences in both

nonclinical and clinical populations.

Methodological Issues

Some methodological issues in past research in

interpersonal perception involved researcher's attempts to

explore interpersonal factors and taking sums or differences

of scores on a variety of instruments and labelling them such

things as "understanding," "empathy," "similarity," and

"accuracy of perception." Cronbach (1955) and Kenny (1988)

have pointed out that various sources of variance enter into

such scores which may have nothing to do with the construct

authors attempted to define. In this study, no attempt was

made to define discrepancy in interpersonal perception as










other than it was. Interpersonal perception here is

operationally defined as a spouse's perception of him or

herself and of his/her spouse in relationship (treating or

behaving toward each other) for various general relationship

conditions.

Hypotheses

General findings in the marital literature show that

discrepancies in perceptions between husbands and wives have

been related to marital dissatisfaction and congruence of

interpersonal perceptions has been related to marital

satisfaction. Marital intimacy has been found to be

positively related to marital satisfaction. Two general

hypotheses regarding these findings will be analyzed in this

study. The first hypothesis proposes that congruence of

interpersonal perception of spouses' will be positively

related to marital intimacy. The second hypothesis concerns

the intra-dyadic differences revealed in this literature. It

is proposed that there will be intra-dyadic differences in

the relation of interpersonal perception to intimacy. The

nature of those differences will be explored. Parallel

relationships between interpersonal perception and marital

satisfaction will also be explored. Congruence of perception

ought to predict marital satisfaction.

Some studies have proposed that similarity between

husbands and wives is related to marital satisfaction. The

third hypothesis of this study proposes that greater







24

similarities of spouses' responses on the SASB will be

related to marital satisfaction.















CHAPTER 2
METHOD

Subjects

Fifty-nine (n=118) married couples participated in the

study. Subjects were solicited from various sources in and

around the Gainesville, Florida, area. Notices were placed

at various local stores, employment sites, on various

bulletin boards around the campuses, and student housing

sites of the University of Florida and of Santa Fe Community

College. Members of local social and religious organizations

were recruited by mail, as were friends and acquaintances of

friends of the author. Subjects were screened to exclude

couples who were currently in marital therapy, and a clinical

instrument, the Beck Depression Inventory, was used to

exclude subjects with obvious depression. Thirty-three of

the 59 couples who participated in this study became subjects

in a second marital study, not a part of this project. These

33 subjects were fully aware of the integrity of this

particular research and only subsequently, on completing

these research requirements, entered into the second project.

These subjects were not identified as a distinct subset for

purposes of analyses. These couples filled out the

questionnaires pertaining to the present study prior to









participation in the second study. The other 26 couples

participated in the present study only. Subjects were

offered $25.00 compensation or contribution to a charity of

their choice for their participation. They were also offered

general feedback regarding results of the study.

Instruments

Demographic Questionnaire

A questionnaire was used to obtain information regarding

age, sex, years of education, years of marriage, number of

children, and other pertinent information. Mean age of

husbands' was 36.7 years; mean age of wives' was 35.6 years.

Mean years of education of husbands' was 16.6 years; mean

years of education of wives' was 16.1 years. There were no

significant differences between husbands and wives on these

two variables. Mean years married was 10.08 years (S.D.

12.1, Range 3/4 year-50 years). Mean number of children was

.99 (S.D. 1.1, Range 0-4 children).


Table 1

Demographic Variables



Age Years Ed.


Mean S.D. Range Mean S.D. Range


Husbands 36.7 21.0 23-70 16.6 3.0 11-28

Wives 35.9 11.6 21-69 16.1 2.6 12-22









Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB)

Three scores of the Structural Analysis of Social

Behavior (SASB) (Benjamin, 1988) were used as independent

variables. The SASB is an instrument designed to assess both

perception of oneself and of one's significant others in

relationships. Numerous studies utilizing factor analyses,

discriminant functions, and auto correlations have shown

adequate reliability and validity and have shown that the

SASB discriminates between normal and clinical samples.

Norms are given for a college student sample (Benjamin,

1988). The SASB measure was used to describe the subject's

perception of interpersonal relationships. This instrument

classifies ratings of interpersonal relations in terms of

focus on self, other, or introjection and in terms of

affiliation and interdependence, and scores are correlated

with 21 theoretical pattern profiles. These profiles are

related to psychological names describing actions such as

"give autonomy." The SASB scores are also summarized in any

of three patterns according to the extent the theoretical

pattern profiles center on either of the two dimensions

(affiliation dimension/interdependence dimension) of the

circumplex model. These summary scores yield coefficients

for an Attack dimension, a Control dimension, and a Conflict

dimension in relationships. For the purpose of this study,

these dimension scores for particular interpersonal focuses

were used as the independent variables.









The Waring Intimacy Ouestionnaire (WIO)

The Waring Intimacy Questionnaire (WIQ) (Waring &

Reddon, 1983) was used as a dependent measure. The WIQ is a

90-item true/false inventory designed to assess levels of

intimacy in a marriage. Examples of items on this

questionnaire are "I enjoy sharing my feelings with my

spouse" and "our sexual relationship influences our level of

closeness." The questionnaire yields a total intimacy score

which has been shown to discriminate adequately between

satisfied and unsatisfied spouses, and the WIQ shows

significant convergent validity with other measures of

intimacy. In addition to a total intimacy score, the measure

yields eight subscales which have been derived by factor

analyses: affection, cohesion, expressiveness,

compatibility, conflict resolution, sexuality, autonomy, and

identity. Test-retest reliability of these individual scales

ranges from .73 to .90. Internal consistency reliability on

the individual scales ranged from .52 to .87. For this

study, significant convergent validity was also established

between the affection subscale of the WIQ and a behavioral

measure of affectionate behaviors, the SOCP (correlation of

.37, p<.001).

The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS)

The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) (Spanier, 1976) was

used as a dependent measure. The DAS is a 32-item scale

designed to assess dyadic satisfaction. The DAS has shown









content validity, construct validity (correlation of .86 with

the Locke-Wallace Marital Adjustment Scale), and

criterion-related validity (divorced sample and married

sample differed significantly p<.001). Reliability was

determined for each of four subscales and total scale score

(subscales were later shown not to hold). Factor analyses by

other researchers failed to produce the subscales, although

subsequent research upheld the validity of the overall scale

score of dyadic adjustment (Antill & Cotton, 1982; Kazak et

al., 1988; Sharpley & Cross, 1982; Spanier, 1988; Thompson,

1988). Cronbach's Alpha for internal consistency for total

scale score was .96.

Beck Depression Inventory

The Beck Depression Inventory (Beck et al., 1961) was

used to rule out psychopathology. Items for the inventory

were derived from clinical observation of behavior and

attitudes of depressed patients, which were consistent with

descriptions of depression in psychiatric texts. Internal

consistency was established by split-half reliability

analysis which yielded a reliability coefficient of .86.

Convergent validity was established by significant

correlations with psychiatrists' clinical judgement.

Additional validity was shown by correct prediction of

changes in depth of depression in 85% of clinical cases

studied.









Spouse Observation Checklist

The Affectionate Behaviors Subscale of Weiss et al.'s

(1973) Spouse Observation Checklist was used as a measure to

establish convergent validity of intimacy (see Appendix B).

Weiss (in a personal communication, July, 1991) suggested

using a score of total pleasurable behaviors as the score for

this use of the subscale. Couples were asked to record their

spouse's affectionate behaviors nightly for a 2-week period.

Examples of items on this brief behavior rating scale are

"Spouse greeted me warmly" and "We warmed each other in bed."

Cronbach's alpha for internal consistency was established as

.94.

Procedure

Upon volunteering for the study, subjects were scheduled

to come to a specific room to complete a packet of

questionnaires at one seating. To avoid any systematic

sensitizing of subjects to self-monitoring of intimacy

behaviors on the Spouse Observation Checklist, half of the

subjects received the 2-week behavioral rating scale to

complete before their scheduled meeting and half received the

behavioral rating scale to complete after their scheduled

meeting and returned it by mail. Subjects were informed that

their participation in the study was confidential, and they

were given consent forms to fill out. Instructions for the

questionnaires were given to each couple before they began.









Payment for participation was given upon completion of all of

the questionnaires and the behavioral rating scales.

Analyses

To explore the first two hypotheses of couples'

discrepancies of interpersonal perception and of differences

between the genders in discrepancies in interpersonal

perception and their relation to marital intimacy,

differences in husband's and wife's interpersonal perception

were computed. These computations involved taking the

absolute value of differences in husband's and wife's scores

on the Attack, Control, and Conflict dimensions on selected

focuses of the SASB. Discrepancy scores were derived by

taking these differences between two different interpersonal

focuses of the spouses: (a) "focus toward other" [(e.g.,

"When the relationship is at its best, I treat my significant

other in a particular manner," (which results in particular

scores on the Attack, Control, and Conflict dimensions)]; and

(b) "other focuses toward me" [(e.g., "When the relationship

is at its best, my significant other treats me in a

particular manner," (which results in particular scores on

the Attack, Control, and Conflict dimensions)]. These

discrepancy scores were used to assess how husbands and wives

each perceived a particular relationship situation. For

example, a husband's scores on the Attack, Control, and

Conflict dimensions for the focus, "When the relationship is

at its best, I treat my wife in a particular manner," were









compared with his wife's scores on the Attack, Control, and

Conflict dimensions for the focus "For the relationship at

best, my significant other treats me in a particular manner."

Following is a table indicating interpersonal focus and the

abbreviation used to represent it hereafter in the text.


Table 2

Interpersonal Focus Variables Used in Analyses



Variable
Abbreviation Interpersonal Focuses


BH Relationship at best, husband's report,
"I treat my wife," compared with wife's
report, "my significant other treats me."

BW Relationship at best, wife's report, "I
treat my husband, compared with husband's
report, "my significant other treats me."

WH Relationship at worst, husband's report,
"I treat my wife," compared with wife's
report, "my significant other treats me."

WW Relationship at worst, wife's report, "I
treat my husband," compared with
husband's report, "my significant other
treats me."



The first hypothesis was explored by doing stepwise

regression analyses of these discrepancies in husband's and

wife's interpersonal perception to predict marital intimacy

as measured by the Total Intimacy score of the Waring

Intimacy Questionnaire (WIQ). Separate regressions (as









recommended by Benjamin, 1988) were done for the relationship

as characterized "at best" and "at worst."

The second hypothesis regarding gender differences in

response was explored by doing the regression analyses

separately for husband's and for wife's Total Intimacy scores

of the WIQ. Parallel regression analyses of spousal

discrepancies of interpersonal perception in relation to

marital satisfaction were also done.

The third hypothesis regarding similarities between

spouses was examined by computing differences (the absolute

value of the differences) in husband's and wife's scores on

the same interpersonal focus of the SASB [(e.g., "When the

relationship is at it's best, I treat my significant other in

a particular manner," (which results in particular scores on

the Attack, Control, and Conflict dimensions of the SASB)].

Similarity in spouses' reported behavior in a particular

relationship situation were assessed using these difference

scores. A stepwise regression analysis was used to assess

the degree to which the similarity of husband's and wife's

responses on the Attack, Control, and Conflict scores of the

SASB predict marital satisfaction as measured by the DAS.















CHAPTER 3
RESULTS

Two measures were used as dependent measures: the

Waring Intimacy Questionnaire (WIQ) and the Dyadic Adjustment

Scale (DAS). Mean scores for husbands were as follows:

WIQ=25.2 (S.D.=4.9), DAS=107.5 (S.D.=14.3). These scores are

comparable with mean scores of published norms for similar

samples (WIQ=25.4, S.D.=4.6; DAS=114.8, S.D.=17.8) (Spanier,

1976; Waring & Reddon, 1981). Mean scores for wives were as

follows: WIQ=26.2 (S.D.=4.8), DAS=107.6 (S.D.=12.1). These

scores are also comparable with mean scores of published

norms for similar samples (WIQ=25.3, S.D.=4.3; DAS=114.8,

S.D.=17.8) (Spanier, 1976; Waring & Reddon, 1981). Paired

difference t-tests indicated that there were no significant

differences between husbands' and wives' scores on these

measures.

A series of stepwise multiple regression analyses were

performed to test the three hypotheses of the study. These

analyses, followed by confirmatory setwise regression

analyses, yielded information regarding the relationship

between the interpersonal perception variables and marital

intimacy and marital satisfaction. They yielded information

regarding which interpersonal perception variable or which









Table 3

Dependent Measures


WIQ DAS


Mean S.D. Range Mean S.D. Range


Husbands 25.2 4.8 12-34 107.5 14.3 73-148

Wives 26.2 4.8 11-34 107.6 12.1 76-129



linear combination of interpersonal perception variables

explained most of the variance in marital intimacy and

marital satisfaction for the relationship at its best and at

its worst. In all cases, the significant equations

determined by stepwise regression to be the best prediction

equation were the same equations selected by a setwise

analysis as the best possible equation with that particular

number of variables, indicating that the variables chosen

were most predictive of the dependent variable. Significance

level for inclusion in the regression equation was set at

.15.

To analyze the first hypothesis regarding congruence of

spouses' interpersonal perceptions related to marital

intimacy, regression equations to predict both husband's and

wife's scores on the WIQ for the relationship at its best and

at its worst were explored. Three of four analyses generated

significant relationships of independent variables to the

dependent variable.









For the relationship at its best there were significant

models which predicted both husband's and wife's total

intimacy scores. Husband's total intimacy score (WIQ) was

inversely related to discrepancies in three interpersonal

perception variables (SASB). A discrepancy in the way a

husband perceived himself treating his wife and the way his

wife perceived him as treating her (BH) on the Control

dimension of the SASB and discrepancies in the way a wife

perceived herself treating her husband and the way he

perceived her treating him (BW) on the Attack and Conflict

dimensions of the SASB were inversely related to husband's

total intimacy score (R2 =.15, F(3,55)=3.4, p<.05) (see Table

4).



Table 4

Significant Regression Model Predicting Husband's Total
Intimacy Score at Best



Standard
Independent Regression Partial Cumulative F
Variable Weight R2 R2


BH-Control -.23 .07 .07 4.2*

BW-Conflict -.20 .05 .12 3.2

BW-Attack -.20 .04 .16 2.4

*p<.05


Wife's total intimacy score (WIQ) was inversely related to a

discrepancy in two interpersonal perception variables (SASB).









A discrepancy in the way a wife perceived herself treating

her husband and the way he perceived her treating him (BW) on

the Attack and Conflict dimensions of the SASB was inversely

related to wife's total intimacy (R2 =.16, F(2,56)=5.1, p<.01)

(see Table 5).



Table 5

Significant Regression Model Predicting Wife's Total Intimacy
Score at Best



Standard
Independent Regression Partial Cumulative F
Variable Weight R2 R2


BW-Attack -.28 .09 .09 5.4*

BW-Conflict -.26 .07 .16 4.5*

*p<.05


For the relationship at its worst, there was a

significant model which predicted wife's total intimacy

(WIQ). Wife's total intimacy score was inversely related to

a discrepancy between her perception of how she treated her

husband and how he perceived her to treat him (WW) on the

Attack and Conflict dimensions of the SASB (R2 =.11,

F(2,56)=3.6, p<.05) (see Table 6). Although the model was

not significant (R2 =.06, F(l,57)=3.7, p<.058), husband's

total intimacy score was inversely related to a discrepancy

in the way he perceived himself treating his wife and how she









perceived him treating her (WH) on the Attack dimension of

the SASB.



Table 6

Significant Regression Model Predicting Wife's Total Intimacy
Score at Worst



Standard
Independent Regression Partial Cumulative F
Variable Weight R2 R2


WW-Attack -.30 .06 .06 3.8

WW-Conflict -.23 .05 .11 3.1



Considering the second hypothesis regarding gender

differences in how discrepancies in interpersonal perception

related to marital intimacy, it is obvious that discrepancies

in interpersonal perception are inversely related to marital

intimacy for both husbands and wives. There seem to be

differences in specific interpersonal variables which predict

either husband's or wife's total intimacy score; however, the

differences are not consistent.

A correlation analysis was performed to explore the

relationship between intimacy (WIQ) and marital satisfaction

(DAS). A significant correlation was found between total

marital satisfaction score and total intimacy score, as well

as between total marital satisfaction score and each subscale

of the intimacy questionnaire (see Table 7).










Table 7

Correlations of Marital Satisfaction and Marital Intimacy



WIQ CORES AFF COH SEX IDENT COMP AUTON EXPRE


DAS .278** .446*** .343*** .242** .911* .267** .551*** .289** .422***

*p<.05
**p<.01
***p<.001

Nates: DAS = Dyadic Adjustment Scale, WIQ = Waring Intimacy
Questionnaire, CORES Conflict Resolution, AFF = Affection, COH -
Cohesion, SEX = secuality, IDENT = Identity, COMP = Compatibility, AUTON
- autonomy, EXPRE = Expressiveness.


Regression analyses of the relationship between

interpersonal perception and marital satisfaction revealed

significant results for the marital relationship at best and

at worst. The following results were obtained for the

relationship at its best. Husband's marital satisfaction

(DAS) was inversely related to a discrepancy in the way he

perceived himself treating his wife and the way his wife

perceived him treating her (BH) on the Attack dimension of

the SASB (R2 =.13, F(1,57)=8.8, p<.01). Wife's marital

satisfaction (DAS) was inversely related to discrepancies in

the way her husband perceived himself treating his wife and

the way she perceived him treating her (BH) on the Attack and

Control dimensions of the SASB, and to a discrepancy in the

way a wife perceived herself treating her husband and the way

he perceived her treating him (BW) on the Control dimension

of the SASB (R2 =.30, F(3,55)=8.04, p<.001) (see Table 8).









Table 8

Significant Regression Model Predicting Wife's Marital
Satisfaction at Best



Standard
Independent Regression Partial Cumulative F
Variable Weight R2 R2


BH-Attack -.39 .14 .14 9.9**

BH-Control -.25 .12 .26 8.4**

BW-Control -.22 .04 .30 3.5*

*p<.05
**p<.01


For the relationship at its worst, significant models

were also obtained in the prediction of marital satisfaction

by discrepancies in spouses' interpersonal perception.

Husband's marital satisfaction (DAS) was inversely related to

a discrepancy between his perception of how he treated his

wife and her perception of how he treated her (WH) on the

Attack and Control dimensions of the SASB (R2 =.16,

F(2,56)=5.3, p<.01) (see Table 9).

Wife's marital satisfaction (DAS) was inversely related

to a discrepancy between how her husband perceived himself

treating her and how she perceived him treating her (WH) on

the Control dimension of the SASB, and to a discrepancy

between how she perceived herself treating her husband and

how he perceived her treating him (WW) on the Attack










dimension of the SASB (R2 =.19, F(2,56)= 6.6, p<.01) (see

Table 10).


Table 9

Significant Regression Model
Satisfaction at Worst


P,-rPih-'inn rinqhsnef'e Msritsl


Standard
Independent Regression Partial Cumulative F
Variable Weight R2 R2


WH-Attack -.33 .11 .11 7.2*

WH-Control -.22 .05 .16 3.1

*p<.01


Table 10

Significant Regression Model Predicting Wife's Marital
Satisfaction at Worst



Standard
Independent Regression Partial Cumulative F
Variable Weight R2 R2


WH-Control -.32 .09 .09 5.8*

WW-Attack -.31 .09 .18 6.7*

*p<.05


Significant results were obtained in exploring the

relationship between marital satisfaction and similarity of

husband's and wife's responses on the SASB. Differences

between husband's and wife's responses on SASB were inversely


P -14,tj F4,IlQllnnj1.Q Marital










related to both husband's and wives' marital satisfaction.

The greater the difference, the less the marital

satisfaction, or, conversely, the greater the similarity,

the more the marital satisfaction.

For the relationship at its best, both husband's and

wife's marital satisfaction was inversely related to

differences in how they reported themselves treating their

spouse. Husband's marital satisfaction (DAS) was inversely

related to differences between himself and his wife on the

Attack dimension of the SASB (R2 =.10, F(1,57)=6.4, p<.05).

Wife's marital satisfaction (DAS) was inversely related to

differences between herself and her husband on the Attack and

Control dimensions of the SASB (R2 =.12, F(2,56)=3.8, p<.05)

(see Table 11).


Table 11

Significant Regression Model Predicting Wife's Marital
Satisfaction from Spouse Similarity Variables at Best



Standard
Independent Regression Partial Cumulative F
Variable Weight R2 R2


Similarity-
Attack -.24 .07 .07 4.3*

Similarity-
Control -.22 .05 .12 3.1

*p<0.5















CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION

Introduction

Numerous research studies have established that

incongruent, distorted perceptions of one's spouse or of

one's marital relationship distinguishes a maritally

satisfied couple from a dissatisfied couple. Over the years

researchers have attempted to explore this factor in a

variety of ways using a variety of instruments. Recently

developed interpersonal assessment instruments, such as the

Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (Benjamin, 1974), have

contributed empirically based instruments for the assessment

of interpersonal factors. These instruments contribute a

more methodologically sound approach with which to explore

spouses' interpersonal perceptions within the marital

relationship. Recent research has also more clearly defined

the concept of intimacy as a multifactored construct which is

strongly related to marital satisfaction. Waring and Reddon

(1983), using the Waring Intimacy Questionnaire, have

identified various components of a marital relationship which

clearly contribute to marital intimacy and to marital

satisfaction. The present study primarily explored the

relationship between spouses' interpersonal perceptions and









marital intimacy. Results indicated, as predicted, that

discrepancy in spouses' interpersonal perceptions (SASB) was

inversely related to marital intimacy (WIQ). The greater the

discrepancy, the lower the total intimacy scores; the less

the discrepancy, the greater the total intimacy. The

relationship between discrepancy in interpersonal perception,

as measured by the SASB, and marital satisfaction was also

explored. As expected, discrepancy in spouses' interpersonal

perceptions was inversely related to marital satisfaction

(DAS). Secondarily, this study explored the relationship

between similarity of spouses as they report themselves

behaving in interpersonal situations (SASB) and marital

satisfaction. For the relationship at its best, results were

as predicted. Differences between spouses were inversely

related to marital satisfaction.

Correlations between Interpersonal Perception Variables and
Intimacy Factors

Post hoc correlation analyses were performed to explore

the nature of the relationship between significant

interpersonal perception discrepancy variables and

subscales representing components of intimacy of the Waring

Intimacy Questionnaire (Tables 12 and 13). Significant

negative correlations were found for both husbands' and

wives' interpersonal perception discrepancy scores and

several intimacy factors. As discrepancy on interpersonal

perception dimensions increased, both husbands and wives

showed lower scores on five of the seven intimacy factors:











Table 12

Correlations between Significant Discrepancy Variables and
Husband's Intimacy Factors



Pearson Correlation Coefficients / Prob > IRI under Ho: Rho-0 / N 59


BH-CONTROL BW-ATTACK BW-CONFLICT WH-ATTACK


TOTAL -0.25077
INTIMACY 0.0554

CONFLICT -0.22524
RESOLUTION 0.0863

AFFECTION -0.46985**
0.0002

COHESION -0.27562*
0.0346

SEXUALITY -0.27394*
0.0358

IDENTITY -0.10065
0.4482

COMPATIBILITY -0.23971
0.0675

AUTONOMY -0.17575
0.1830

EXPRESSIVENESS -0.27573*
0.0345

SOCIAL -0.27021*
DESIRABILITY 0.0385


-0.23299
0.0757

-0.02609
0.8445

0.02072
0.8762

-0.04728
0.7222

-0.07556
0.5695

-0.16186
0.2207

-0.21670
0.0992

-0.15957
0.2274

-0.16072
0.2240

0.06564
0.6214


-0.26291*
0.0442

-0.31059*
0.0167

-0.28192*
0.0305

-0.42810**
0.0007

-0.05818
0.6616

0.00188
0.9887

-0.18663
0.1570

0.14665
0.2677

-0.08809
0.5070

-0.16741
0.2050


-0.24816
0.0581

-0.25861*
0.0480

0.01993
0.8809

-0.15920
0.2284

-0.04287
0.7472

-0.02012
0.8798

-0.22828
0.0820

-0.34272*
0.0079

-0.30605*
0.0184

-0.14518
0.2726


*p<.05
**p<.01










Table 13

Correlations between Significant Discrepancy Variables and
Husband's Intimacy Factors



Pearson Correlation Coefficients / Prob > IR) under Ho: Rho-0 / N 59


WB-ATTACK WB-CONFLICT WW-ATTACK WW-CONFLICT


TOTAL -0.29453* -0.28120* -0.25115 0.16461
INTIMACY 0.0235 0.0310 0.0550 0.2128

CONFLICT -0.27625* -0.38514** -0.40545** -0.05805
RESOLUTION 0.0342 0.0026 0.0014 0.6623

AFFECTION -0.28633* -0.18223 -0.18536 0.09720
0.0279 0.1672 0.1599 0.4639

COHESION -0.31397* -0.06269 -0.05107 0.05777
0.0155 0.6372 0.7009 0.6639

SEXUALITY -0.11735 -0.25875* -0.05232 0.16692
0.3761 0.0478 0.6939 0.2064

IDENTITY -0.06312 -0.28847* -0.17004 0.20690
0.6348 0.0267 0.1979 0.1159

COMPATIBILITY -0.23820 -0.23732 -0.03486 0.12463
0.0693 0.0703 0.7932 0.3470

AUTONOMY -0.17032 0.11222 -0.06365 0.18546
0.1972 0.3974 0.6320 0.1596

EXPRESSIVENESS -0.19191 -0.13267 -0.26581* -0.12292
0.1454 0.3165 0.0419 0.3537

SOCIAL -0.06532 -0.30002* -0.06535 -0.05975
DESIRABILITY 0.6231 0.0210 0.6229 0.653

*p<.05
**p<.01









Conflict Resolution, Affection, Cohesion, Sexuality, and

Expressiveness. It seems plausible that these factors have

an important relationship to interpersonal perception in

marriage. Of the two remaining intimacy factors, one showed

a significant correlation with one of the husbands'

interpersonal perception discrepancy scores, and the other

showed a significant correlation with one of the wives'

interpersonal perception discrepancy scores. For husbands,

for the relationship at worst, there was a negative

correlation between a discrepancy in interpersonal perception

on the Affection dimension and the intimacy factor of

Autonomy. For wives, for the relationship at best, there was

a negative correlation between a discrepancy in interpersonal

perception on the Conflict dimension and the intimacy factor

of Identity.

Relationship between Discrepancy in Interpersonal Perception
and Marital Intimacy and Marital Satisfaction

The first hypothesis explored the congruence/discrepancy

of spouses' interpersonal perceptions related to marital

intimacy for the relationship at its best and at its worst.

In both best and worst relationship conditions, for the

wife's assessment of her marital intimacy, key interpersonal

perception variables were the Attack and Conflict dimensions.

In all regressions, a discrepancy on these interpersonal

perception variables between how a wife (wife as actor)

perceived herself treating her husband and how he perceived

her treating him was important. For the husband's assessment










of his marital intimacy, discrepancies in interpersonal

perception variables for both himself as actor ("I treat my

wife") and for his wife as actor ("I treat my husband") were

important. All three interpersonal perception variables

(Attack, Control, and Conflict) were related to husband's

marital intimacy. (Post hoc paired-difference t-tests were

done of the husband's and wife's interpersonal perception

variables which were components of the discrepancy scores

that comprised the significant regression models. Results of

the one significant t-test are discussed. See Appendix C for

a table of mean scores for interpersonal perception

variables, and a table of correlations between husbands' and

wives' interpersonal perception variables.)

For the relationship at its best, it was found that

husband's intimacy was inversely related to a discrepancy

between the way he perceived himself treating his wife and

the way she perceived him treating her on the Control

dimension of the SASB, and discrepancies between the way his

wife perceived herself treating him and the way he perceived

her treating him on the Attack and Conflict dimensions of the

SASB. A husband reports less marital intimacy the greater

the discrepancy between himself and his wife in their

perceptions of his controlling behavior coupled with

discrepancies between himself and his wife in perception of

her affectionate behaviors toward him and in the conflict or










consistency of her behavior, along the enmeshment/autonomy

dimension, toward him.

For the relationship at its best, and also for the

relationship at worst, it was found that wife's intimacy was

inversely related to a discrepancy between how she perceived

herself treating her husband and the way he perceived her

treating him on the Attack and Conflict dimensions of the

SASB. In both cases, a wife reported less marital intimacy

the greater the discrepancy between herself and her husband

in their perceptions of her affectionate behavior and the

degree of conflict or consistency of her behavior (along the

enmeshment/autonomy dimension) toward him. A discrepancy in

perceptions of husband's controlling behavior would result

from husbands and wives differentially rating husband's

behavior on such SASB items as "To make sure things turn out

right, I tell her what to do and how to do it." A

discrepancy in perceptions of wife's affectionate behavior

would result from husbands and wives differentially rating

wife's behavior on such SASB items as "With wonderful love

and caring, I tenderly approach him if he seems to want it."

Discrepancy in perceptions of wife's conflictual or

inconsistent behavior along the enmeshment/autonomy axis

would result from husbands and wives differentially rating

wife's behavior on such SASB items as "In a very friendly

way, I help, support and instruct him," and "Without much

concern, I give him the freedom to do things on his own."









Although paired-comparison t-tests revealed no

significant differences between husband's and wives' mean

scores on interpersonal perception variables, the discrepancy

in interpersonal perception is significantly inversely

related to both husband's and wife's marital intimacy and

explains a significant amount of the variance of both. It is

the perception of husband's controlling behavior and the

perception of wife's affectionate behavior and behavioral

consistency, regarding autonomy-giving or controlling

behavior (irrespective of the quantitative difference) which

impacts marital intimacy. These results support the research

literature which indicates that it is the discrepancy or

congruence of interpersonal perception between husbands and

wives that is key. It suggests that in discussing marital

relationships there are interpersonal perception phenomena

which are crucial. This is consistent with research in the

field beginning with the earliest published studies which

indicated that marital relationships are best understood by

exploring variables which described the relationship and

spouses' perceptions of it.

Regression analyses also were performed to examine the

relationship between discrepancy of interpersonal perception

as measured by the SASB and marital satisfaction. For the

relationship at its best, a husband reported less marital

satisfaction the greater the discrepancy between how

affectionately he perceived himself treating his wife and how









affectionately she perceived him treating her. For the

relationship at its worst, a husband reported less marital

satisfaction the greater the discrepancy between how

affectionately and how controlling he perceived himself to be

toward his wife and how affectionate and controlling she

perceived him to be toward her.

For the relationship at its best, wife's marital

satisfaction (DAS) was inversely related to a discrepancy in

the way her husband perceived himself treating her and the

way she perceived him treating her on the Attack and Control

dimensions of the SASB and to a discrepancy between the way a

wife perceived herself treating her husband and the way he

perceived her treating him on the Control dimension of the

SASB. A wife reported less marital satisfaction the greater

the discrepancy between how affectionate and controlling her

husband saw himself as treating her and how affectionate and

controlling she saw him as being. Additionally, she reported

less marital satisfaction the greater the discrepancy between

how controlling she saw herself as being toward him and how

controlling he saw her as being. For the relationship at its

worst, a wife reported less marital satisfaction the greater

the discrepancy between how controlling her husband perceived

himself as being toward her and how controlling she perceived

him being of her and the greater the discrepancy between how

affectionately she perceived herself treating him and how

affectionately he perceived her as treating him.










Discrepancy in interpersonal perception is key in

marital satisfaction as it is in marital intimacy. The only

significant difference in mean interpersonal perception

scores was on the variable related to the Attack dimension

for husband's treatment of the wife for the relationship at

worst. This difference indicated that the husband perceived

himself as being less affectionate than his wife perceived

him as being.

Discrepancies between husband's and wife's perceptions

of wife as actor (behaving toward her husband) and husband as

being treated or behaved toward by his wife occurred in every

significant model predictive of both husband's and wife's

marital intimacy and marital satisfaction, in both best and

worst relationship conditions. Clearly, wife's treatment of

her husband is a very important interpersonal behavior

dimension.

Relationship between Spousal Similarity and Marital
Satisfaction

This second hypothesis of this study explored the

similarity of reported behaviors of husbands and wives. It

examined the difference between husbands' and wives'

descriptions of their own behavior on the same interpersonal

perception focus, e.g., "For the relationship at its best, I

treat my significant other with kindness." Results indicated

that differences between how they reported behaving toward

their significant other (SASB) for the relationship at its

best were inversely related to both husband's and wife's









marital satisfaction (DAS). Husband's marital satisfaction

was inversely related to a perceived difference between

himself and his wife in affectionate behavior. Wife's

marital satisfaction was inversely related to perceived

differences between herself and her husband in both

affectionate and controlling behaviors. Benjamin (1988)

reported greater similarity of response between significant

others for relationships at best and more variability of

response for the relationship at worst. In a nonclinic,

normal population one would expect the range and type of

responses to one's significant other, for the relationship at

its best, would be relatively similar. One would expect that

most people would behave toward their spouse in a considerate

manner. One is reminded of Swensen's discussion of Bales'

generalization regarding two-person groups. He posited that

a two-person group cannot operate except on the assumption of

love between them and is characterized by higher rates of

"yea-saying" or agreement than are larger groups (Swensen,

1973). Husbands and wives experience less marital

satisfaction if they perceive behavioral differences between

themselves and their significant other.

Conclusion

This study has shown that utilizing Benjamin's

Structural Analysis of Social Behavior can be valuable for

its ability to identify important interpersonal dimensions in

assessing marital relationships. It enables one to link









perceptual congruence of particular behavioral dimensions in

relationship (e.g., affection, submission, control,

consistency) to marital intimacy and to marital satisfaction.

Sillers (1985) posited that very little was known about

interpersonal perception within personal relationships

because of a lack of a common research agenda, and he cited

the diversity of approaches to such research as one of the

major problems. Benjamin's Structural Analysis of Social

Behavior offers a partial solution, in that it offers a

theoretically based, methodologically sound approach to the

study of interpersonal perceptions. There are several

limitations of the present study. One is that it is limited

in its generalizability. The population represented was

relatively heterogeneous. Results may not be generalizable

to populations of other cultural groups or to clinic

populations. Additionally, it was limited in its screening

for psychopathology. It is possible that individuals with

DSM III-R, Axis II, Personality Disorders were not screened

from the population. Further research directions might be to

explore the nature of perceptual discrepancy/congruence in

various clinical populations. Usefulness of this methodology

in assessment of marital therapy (possibly as a pre- and

postmeasure), particularly those which seek to increase

communication effectiveness and intimacy, could also be

explored. It would be of interest to explore further the

relationship between spouses' interpersonal perception and







55

the factors which comprise marital intimacy. Another avenue

of research could be to attempt to ascertain by means of more

interactional methods [such as Gottman's (1979)] what

behaviors are exchanged when a wife is the actor or the one

"treating" and the husband is the one "being treated," since

this appears to be a crucial dimension in perception of

marital relationships.















CHAPTER 5
SUMMARY

This study demonstrates that discrepancies in spouse's

perceptions along various interpersonal behavioral dimensions

are significantly inversely related to marital intimacy and

to marital satisfaction. Less marital intimacy and less

marital satisfaction are related to greater discrepancy in

interpersonal perception. In an attempt to correct for some

confounding methodology in past research in the area

interpersonal perception in marital relationships, this study

utilized Benjamin's (1974) Structural Analysis of Social

Behavior, an instrument designed specifically to assess

interpersonal perceptual phenomena. Spouses' perception

along specific behavioral dimensions were identified as being

of importance in marital intimacy and in marital

satisfaction. Although for the most part there were no

significant differences in spouse's mean scores on

interpersonal perception variables, the discrepancy of

perception of husband's and wife's behavior, irrespective of

the quantitative difference, impacted marital intimacy and

marital satisfaction. These results supported research in

the area of interpersonal perception in marital relationships

which indicates that it is perceptual congruence or







57

discrepancy that is crucial. Results of the present study

also indicated that it is discrepancy of perception regarding

a wife's behavior toward her husband as significant in both

husband's and wife's intimacy and satisfaction. Perception

of wife's behavior was identified as an important dimension

in marital relationships. Use of Benjamin's Structural

Analysis of Social Behavior could contribute clearer

understanding of spouse's interpersonal perception and how it

relates to marital relationships. It offers a solution to

one of the problems cited regarding past research in the area

of interpersonal perception, that of confusing results

related to a wide variety of instruments used to attempt to

explore interpersonal phenomena.















APPENDIX A
EXAMPLES OF ITEMS FROM BENJAMIN'S SASB


An example of an item which would reflect the most

negative coefficient representing the vertical axis

(autonomy/enmeshment) of the circuplex would be "Without

much concern, x gives y the freedom to do things on her own."

An item representative of the most positive coefficient

representing the vertical axis (autonomy/ enmeshment) would

be "To make things turn out right, x tells y exactly what to

do and how to do it."

An example of an item which would reflect the most

negative coefficient representing the horizontal axis of the

circuplex would be "With wonderful love and caring, x

tenderly approaches if y seems to want it." An item

representative of the most positive coefficient representing

the horizontal axis would be "Without considering what might

happen, x murderously attacks y in the worst way possible."

It would be important to do a more thorough diagnostic

screening in future research.
















APPENDIX B
SUBSCALE OF SPOUSE OBSERVATION CHECKLIST























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APPENDIX C
TABLES OF MEANS AND CORRELATIONS OF RAW SCORES OF SASB
INTERPERSONAL VARIABLES










Table C-1

Mean. Standard Deviat-inn


- nti Ranae fn na n~rp nf OLnTa


Interpersonal Variables


Variable/Condition Mean Std Dev Range


Wife/Beast:
ATTACK
CONTROL
CONFLICT


Wife/Significant
Other/Best:
ATTACK
CONTROL
CONFLICT

Wife/Worst:
ATTACK
CONTROL
CONFLICT

Wife/Significant
Other/Worst:
ATTACK
CONTROL
CONFLICT


-0.8409 0.1485 -0.9800 -0.1650
0.4082 0.3996 -0.7850 0.8740
0.0788 0.2896 -0.7600 0.7840




-0.7977 0.3070 -0.9610 0.7430
0.3952 0.3869 -0.7270 0.9060
0.0419 0.2896 -0.5570 0.6040


-0.4554 0.5397 -0.9810 0.8830
0.2506 0.4625 -0.8580 0.7640
0.1874 0.3569 -0.6580 0.8140




-0.5605 0.4886 -0.9600 0.9270
0.2103 0.4784 -0.9110 0.8200
0.2310 0.2951 -0.5790 0.6760


Husband/Best:
ATTACK -0.8541 0.1326 -0.9890 -0.2420
CONTROL 0.3843 0.4026 -0.6230 0.9090
CONFLICT 0.1074 0.2324 -0.3990 0.4650

Husband/Significant
Other/Best:
ATTACK -0.8060 0.2864 -0.9810 0.8610
CONTROL 0.4948 0.3033 -0.4760 0.8650
CONFLICT 0.0510 0.2817 -0.4910 0.5790

Husband/Worst:
ATTACK -0.3668 0.5547 -0.9410 0.8200
CONTROL 0.2085 0.4652 -0.8400 0.7780
CONFLICT 0.2681 0.3650 -0.6260 0.8310

Husband/Significant
Other/Worst:
ATTACK -0.3270 0.6024 -0.9440 0.9710
CONTROL 0.1934 0.5006 -0.7260 0.9570
CONFLICT 0.1400 0.4193 -0.7160 0.8950



















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1951. I began my

undergraduate degree at Ohio State University in the Fall of

1969. After working full time and financing my undergraduate

education myself, I received a Bachelor of Science magna cum

laude from Georgia State University in 1979. I received a

Master of Science from the University of Florida in 1988.

















































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