Affect and behavioral involvement in spousal complaints and compliments

Jeanne Flora, Chris Segrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The authors explored affect and behavioral involvement (gaze, talk time, and speaking turns) in spousal complaints and compliments, relating these constructs to current and longitudinal relational well-being. Participants were 65 married couples. Concurrent relational well-being was higher when partners negotiated (a) complaints with less negative affect, more gaze, less wife talk time, and more husband talk time and (b) compliments with less negative affect and more husband gaze. Husbands' satisfaction decreased over time when they experienced more negative affect while complimenting. Both spouses' satisfaction decreased over time when either partner, especially wives, took more speaking turns complaining. Partial support for the sentiment-override effect is discussed, but findings went beyond the effect to demonstrate contingent affect when responding to spousal behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-657
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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