Perceived Partner Responsiveness Mediates the Association Between Sexual and Marital Satisfaction: A Daily Diary Study in Newlywed Couples
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Sexuality is an integral part of intimate relationships, yet surprisingly little is known about how and for whom sexuality matters. The present research investigated the interplay of sexual and non-sexual factors that contribute to relationship satisfaction. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that the association between sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction is mediated by a non-sexual factor—namely, perceived partner responsiveness (PPR). Additionally, we tested the role of gender as a possible moderator of this mediated association. Thirty-four newlywed couples completed diaries with each spouse reporting their sexual satisfaction, marital satisfaction, and PPR every day for 30 days. We tested our predictions at both the person level (i.e., the mean level across 30 days) and the daily level. At the person level, we found that sexual satisfaction and PPR separately predicted marital satisfaction. Moreover, the effect of sexual satisfaction on marital satisfaction was partially mediated by PPR. No gender differences emerged at this level. At the daily level, we found similar support for partial mediation. However, at this level, gender did serve as a moderator. The stronger mediation found for women was driven by a stronger association between sexual satisfaction and PPR for women than for men. This study joins a growing literature highlighting the role of PPR in dyadic relationships.
KeywordsPerceived partner responsiveness Sexual satisfaction Marital satisfaction Daily diaries
This research was supported by a grant from the Faculty Research Support Program (FRSP) at Indiana University to Erick Janssen, Ph.D. and Julia Heiman, Ph.D.
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