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The Role of Husbands’ and Wives’ Emotional Expressivity in the Marital Relationship

Abstract

The current investigation was designed to examine the role of positive and negative emotional expressivity in the marital relationship. Data from 58 married couples were used to assess spouses’ levels of emotional expressivity and how these levels predicted reports of marital functioning. Regression analyses indicated that positive emotional expressivity had limited influence on marital functioning. Negative expressivity, however, had a strong impact on marital love, conflict, and ambivalence. Post-hoc analyses revealed significant differences between pairings in which the husband was high in negative expressivity, irrespective of wives’ negative emotional expressivity, and pairings in which both partners were low in negative emotional expressivity. These findings are discussed with respect to previous research that suggests that wives’ emotional expressivity is the major determinant of marital functioning.

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Correspondence to Amy J. Rauer.

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Rauer, A.J., Volling, B.L. The Role of Husbands’ and Wives’ Emotional Expressivity in the Marital Relationship. Sex Roles 52, 577–587 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-3726-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-3726-6

Key Words

  • emotional expressivity
  • marriage
  • gender