ERIC Number: ED176196
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Perceptual Biases of Distressed and Nondistressed Marital Partners Concerning Conflict Resolution.
Birchler, Gary R.
Behavioral and perceptual differences among maritally distressed and nondistressed husbands and wives were investigated. Distressed couples beginning marital therapy and nondistressed couples solicited through community newspapers comprised the criterion groups which were matched for major demographic variables. Couples first enacted and then repeatedly observed and rated videotaped samples of their own marital conflict resolution. Between the ratings, a discrimination task was completed which consisted of subjects observing and rating two standardized videotapes of "good" and "bad" dyadic problem solving. Results indicate that distressed and nondistressed couples do significantly differ in their demonstration of communication skills associated with marital conflict resolution. Married individuals rated most accurately and consistently the negative verbal behavior emitted by their spouses, and they rated self-emitted negative behavior poorly. Distressed partners seemed to discriminate and rate positive problem solving behaviors at least as well as the nondistressed partners. Distressed wives were most reliable and accurate in rating their own (relatively low) output of positive verbal and nonverbal behavior. Results suggest that certain behavioral differences observed between "clinical" and "normal" couples during conflict resolution may not relate as much to distressed partners' inability to discriminate appropriate behaviors as to their inability or unwillingness to engage in them. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (59th, San Diego, California, April 5-8, 1979)