Self-Reported Communication Variables and Dating Violence: Using Gottman’s Marital Communication Conceptualization
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Communication behaviors, while extensively studied within the marital field, have received only peripheral attention in violent dating relationships. The purpose of this research was to better establish empirical continuity between the marital and dating literatures by exploring communication variables that have been identified in marital relationships broadly and their self-reported manifestation in violent dating relationships. Using Gottman’s (1999) marital communication conceptualization, individuals were assessed on adaptive and maladaptive communication variables and relationship aggression. Results suggested that negative communication behaviors were associated with, and predicted, aggression in participants’ dating relationships, consistent with findings from the marital literature. However, repair attempts, generally considered an adaptive communication behavior, predicted aggression victimization. Implications and how these data fit within the context of recent research on positive marital communication behaviors are explored.