The Influence of Inhibited Expression of Anger, Perceived Control by Partner, and Withdrawal Cognitions on the Association between Conflict and Relationship Dissolution

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Although there has been a large amount of attention on partners' behavior during conflict and its connection with relationship dissolution, little is known about the individuals' internal experiences during conflict that are associated with relationship instability. The current study investigated whether three internal experiences, the suppression of anger, perceived control by partner, and thoughts about withdrawal, play roles in the relation between conflict and dissolution of couple relationships. The study used assessment data from 69 couples who sought therapy at an outpatient therapy clinic, serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse population. Analyses tested the main effects of the internal experience variables and their interactions with level of relationship conflict as predictors of steps taken toward relationship dissolution. Findings indicated that the internal experience variables did not play the anticipated moderating role, but they were found to be partial mediators in the relation between conflict and relationship dissolution.