Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 80–86 | Cite as

Assessing the Mediating Effect of Relationship Dynamics Between Perceptions of Problematic Media Use and Relationship Satisfaction

  • Todd A. SpencerEmail author
  • Amberly Lambertsen
  • Daniel S. Hubler
  • Brandon K. Burr
Original Paper


Previous research has indicated that it is common for couples to experience conflict over media use. However, until recently clinicians and researchers have not explored the implications of media use within romantic relationships. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between individuals’ perception of problematic media use in connection with relationship satisfaction, and to what extent demand-withdraw and criticism-defensiveness dynamics mediate this association. Data was collected with a sample of 242 respondents completing an online survey. Results showed that demand-withdraw and criticism-defensiveness patterns were found to be negatively associated with relationship satisfaction, and that the association between problematic media use and relationship satisfaction was partially mediated by the demand-withdraw and criticism-defensiveness patterns. Based on these results, there is potential for clinicians to view couple media use as a process level interaction, and by doing so, clinicians will be better able to implement interventions that utilize clients’ media use to promote relationship satisfaction and stability while reducing problematic media use.


Couples Media use Relationship satisfaction Demand-withdraw Criticism-defensiveness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd A. Spencer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amberly Lambertsen
    • 2
  • Daniel S. Hubler
    • 2
  • Brandon K. Burr
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Child and Family StudiesWeber State UniversityOgdenUSA
  3. 3.Department of Human Environmental ScienceUniversity of Central OklahomaEdmondUSA

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