Communication Behaviors, Perception of Criticism, Changes in Emotional State, and Relationship Satisfaction in African American and Caucasian Heterosexual Couples
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among partners'communication behaviors, perception of criticism, emotional state, and relationship satisfaction among African American and Caucasian couples. Partners' perception of criticism was examined as a mediator of the relationship between communication behaviors and emotional state, as well as relationship satisfaction. The influence of partners' perception of criticism was expected to vary by culture/race. Secondary analyses were conducted for 29 Caucasian and 20 African American heterosexual couples presenting for therapy at a university-based clinic as part of the ongoing Couples Abuse Prevention Program. Couples completed self-report measures of perceived criticism and dyadic adjustment, as well as completing a 10-minute communication sample and reporting their moods before and after the discussion. Results supported perception of criticism as a mediator, and the association between negative communication behavior and partners' perception of criticism was stronger for Caucasian husbands than for African American husbands.