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Communication as a moderator of the interplay between newlyweds’ sexual and relationship satisfaction

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
I examined reciprocal contemporaneous and time-lagged associations between marital and sexual satisfaction in heterosexual newlywed couples (N = 189), and whether positive (empathy, perspective taking) or negative (e.g., hostility, insensitivity) communication indicators moderated this association. Multilevel modeling indicated that sexual and relationship satisfaction co-varied, and that sexual satisfaction predicted increases in marital satisfaction, but the opposite was not true. Contemporaneously, good quality communication strengthened the positive association between marital and sexual satisfaction as the outcome, but did not moderate the association when marital satisfaction was the outcome. Communication quality did not interact with sexual satisfaction to predict changes in marital satisfaction, but did interact with marital satisfaction to predict sexual satisfaction. A cross-over interaction suggested that marital satisfaction predicted increases in sexual satisfaction when communication quality was positive, but declines when communication quality was less positive. Results highlight the importance of the sexual relationship to marital satisfaction in early marriage.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Cobb, Rebecca
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