PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP COMMITMENT, POSITIVE AND ANXIOUS EMOTIONAL AROUSAL, AND COMMUNICATION IN CLINIC COUPLES
Mena, Leidy Magdalena
Esptein, Norman B.
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This study examined relationships among partners' relationship commitment, positive and anxious forms of emotional arousal prior to engaging in a discussion of a conflictual relationship issue, and subsequent communication behavior, in a sample of clinical couples who had experienced psychologically and mild to moderate physically abusive interactions. A secondary analysis was conducted with data from 68 couples who had sought therapy for relationship problems. Results indicated that men and women with higher commitment experienced less anxious arousal and more positive emotional arousal prior to engaging in problem-solving. Greater commitment in men was associated with more constructive communication behaviors, and women with higher levels of anxiety engaged in more negative communication. Men's positive emotional arousal was associated with more positive communication behavior and less negative communication behavior. Men's positive emotional arousal mediated between commitment and constructive communication behaviors; however, anxious emotional arousal did not. Implications for couple therapy are discussed.