Nonverbal communication and marital adjustment and satisfaction: The role of decoding relationship relevant and relationship irrelevant affect

Ascan Koerner, Mary Anne Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study investigates the relationship between nonverbal encoding and decoding of positive and negative affect attributed to relational and nonrelational factors and spouses' marital adjustment. Findings indicate that accuracy in decoding of nonverbal affect was associated with the partner's, but not one's own, marital satisfaction. In regard to specific relational and nonrelational affect, results showed that accurate decoding of relational positive affect and of nonrelational negative affect was associated with the decoder's marital satisfaction, while accurate decoding of relational positive affect was associated with the partner's dissatisfaction. In regard to nonverbal communication and sex differences, we found that husbands' decoding of wives' nonrelational affect was more predictive of marital satisfaction than wives' decoding of husbands' nonrelational affect. Overall, however, we did not find many of the sex differences in nonverbal communication reported in previous studies. Implications of these findings for our current understanding of nonverbal communication in marriages are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalCommunication Monographs
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nonverbal communication and marital adjustment and satisfaction: The role of decoding relationship relevant and relationship irrelevant affect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this