Negative Life Events, Marital Interaction, and the Longitudinal Course of Newlywed Marriage

Catherine L. Cohan, Thomas N. Bradbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations

Abstract

Life events and problem-solving behavior were examined relative to longitudinal change in depressive symptoms and marital adjustment over 18 months in 60 newlywed couples. Spouses' problem-solving behavior moderated, but did not mediate, the relationship between life events and adjustment. Some behaviors contributed to spouses being more resilient to life events, and some behaviors made spouses more vulnerable. In particular, wives' anger facilitated their adjustment to major and interpersonal events such that their depressive symptoms declined and their marital satisfaction increased. Husbands' humor contributed to marital instability when spouses reported more major events. The results further specify the vulnerability-stress-adaptation model of marriage and expand on the role of behavior in marriage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-128
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume73
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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