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Title:The Emotional Life of Marriages: An Investigation of Emotional Skillfulness and Its Effects on Marital Satisfaction and Intimacy
Author(s):Mirgain, Shilagh A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):James v. Cordova
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:This study provided support for the basic tenets of an emotional skillfulness theory (Cordova, Warren, & Gee, 2001) within the context of marriage. Emotional skillfulness is conceptualized as individuals' learned ways of managing their emotions based on their life experiences. Seventy couples living in a medium-sized Midwestern city participated either as subjects or controls in a two-session assessment-feedback intervention designed to prevent marital deterioration. Participants completed measures of emotional skillfulness, marital satisfaction and intimate safety before the active agents of the treatment were given. Thirty-eight couples then participated in behavioral-observation, problem-solving interactions. Results suggested that the phenomenon of emotional skillfulness is a single construct consisting of at least four emotion skills (i.e., emotional control, comfort with emotional expression, identification and communication of emotions and empathy). This study also demonstrated that emotional skillfulness and its four domains are an observable phenomenon. As predicted, both self-reported and observational measures of emotional skillfulness were found to be positively associated with marital satisfaction and intimate safety. Further, the association between emotional skillfulness and marital satisfaction was mediated by intimate safety for both husbands and wives. Finally, support was provided for predictive models of marital satisfaction. Thus, it was concluded that the emotion skills people acquire and express in their marriages influence marital satisfaction by determining how they respond to the emotionally challenging task of developing marital intimacy.
Issue Date:2003
Description:97 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3086142
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003

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