Relational turbulence theory suggests that relational turbulence causes pervasive patterns of dysfunctional communication in romantic relationships, such as an inability to resolve conflicts. Other research traditions link marital conflict to marital satisfaction and also exposure to stress. This study assesses the discriminant validity of relational turbulence by examining its association with reports of ineffective arguing, above and beyond the associations with marital satisfaction and parenting stress. The study tests the theoretical claims within the high stress context of parents raising children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Married, parents of children with ASD (N = 298) completed measures of parenting stress specific to raising a child with ASD, marital satisfaction, relational turbulence, and ineffective arguing. Results provide evidence that relational turbulence is associated with perceptions of less effective arguing among these parents above and beyond the influence of parenting stress and marital satisfaction. Finally, implications for marriages, for parents of children with ASD, and for relational turbulence theory are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science