Marital communication

Chris Segrin, Jeanne Flora

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


For many people marriage is the most consequential relationship of their adult lives, yet the high divorce rate suggests that it can be a relationship laden with difficulties. This chapter presents several conceptual models designed to explain changes in marital quality and skill-based models of marital quality. The maintenance of positive affect and reduction or management of negative affect are key processes associated with long-term martial outcomes that are strongly influenced by marital communication behaviors. These behaviors include disclosure, expressing positive affect and provision of social support on the positive side, and anger, demand-withdrawal, and emotional and verbal aggression on the negative side. Many of these negative behaviors have proven to be useful indicators of a couple’s risk for divorce. Finally, researchers have been able to reliably classify marriages into distinct types, based in part on their communication behaviors, particularly how the couple handles marital conflicts. Collectively, these finding illustrate the major role of communication processes in marital success and failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInterpersonal Communication
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783110276794
ISBN (Print)9783110276428
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Conflict
  • Couple types
  • Divorce
  • Emotion
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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