ERIC Number: ED267337
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr
Attributions to the Self and Partner in Distressed and Nondistressed Couples.
Fincham, Frank D.; Beach, Stephen R.
Cognitive factors have been shown to play an important role in marital distress. To examine the importance of the self-other distinction for understanding the impact of attributions on marital satisfaction, two studies were conducted. In the first study, causal attributions for naturally occurring behavior by the self and spouse were investigated in 44 married couples, including both distressed and nondistressed spouses. Subjects completed a Spouse Observation Checklist, reporting on specified behaviors of their spouses over a 24-hour period. It was found that both self-enhancing and spouse- enhancing attributions were related to greater marital satisfaction. In addition, nondistressed spouses were more willing to see themselves as the cause of their partners' negative behavior than were distressed spouses. In the second study, causal and responsibility attributions for hypothetical behaviors by both the self and spouse were investigated in 76 distressed and nondistressed spouses. The results of the first study were replicated and extended, showing that self attributions accounted for variance in marital satisfaction which is independent of that due to attributions for partner behavior. Self- other attribution differences varied as a function of marital distress. Nondistressed spouses showed a positive attribution bias by making more benign attributions for partner versus self behaviors whereas distressed spouses showed a negative attribution bias, making less benign attributions for partner than self behavior. These findings suggest that self attributions may, in part, determine the impact of attributions for spouse behavior on marital satisfaction. A six-page list of references concludes the document. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), Bethesda, MD.; Illinois Univ., Champaign.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Association for Counseling and Development (Los Angeles, CA, April 20-23, 1986).