Interaction and relationship development in stable young couples: Effects of positive engagement, psychological aggression, and withdrawal

Heidemarie K. Laurent, Hyoun K. Kim, Deborah M. Capaldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study tested associations among observed interaction patterns and relationship satisfaction in a subsample of young at-risk couples (n=47) from the Oregon Youth Study who remained stable over 7 years; each partner's positive engagement, psychological aggression, and withdrawal within a particular conflict structure (his vs. her topic) was used to predict satisfaction over time using multilevel growth curve modeling. Women's positive engagement during both topics predicted higher satisfaction for both partners at within-couple and between-couple levels. Women's psychological aggression showed topic-specific associations with lower satisfaction for each partner, and increases in both men's and women's psychological aggression during their partner's topic related to lower satisfaction over time for women. Both partners' withdrawal during men's topics predicted less decline in satisfaction for men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-835
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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