One aim of this study was to test a model derived from Cutrona that conflict and depression partially mediate the relation between perceived and accurate. Keywords: couples, empathic accuracy, empathy, intimate partner aggression . Men's relationship satisfaction was related to the ability to read their .. education and income, relationship satisfaction, depression, alcohol use. Empathic Accuracy as a Mediating Variable in the Relationship Between .. between rejection sensitivity and relationship satisfaction for girlfriends with anxiety and depression, or externalizing, the tendency to display negative emotion.
In the literature, this partner is referred to as the conflict initiator or the agent of change e. The other partner may react by withdrawing, reflected in avoiding the other partner or by terminating or escaping from the conflict Christensen, A certain level of demand-withdraw behavior is commonly observed during conflict interactions, even in satisfied couples Eldridge et al.
However, a polarized pattern of demand-withdraw behavior can be associated with relationship distress, power differences—and even violence—within the relationship Sagrestano et al.
Although some studies have reported a tendency for women to take the demanding role and men the withdrawing role Christensen, ; Eldridge and Christensen,other studies suggest that the role of initiating a disagreement or the conflict topic per se is more predictive of being in the demander role than is gender Christensen and Heavey, ; Heavey et al. This same individual might also be motivated to accurately infer the partner's current thoughts and feelings about issue s at the heart of the conflict.
Our study Hinnekens et al. The current dataset includes empathic accuracy and demand behavior data from the partners of couples who were observed during conflict interactions.
It contributes to existing research by providing data from a a large sample of couples, b in a committed long-term relationship, and c it provides measures of their empathic accuracy for their partner's thoughts and feelings separately.
Empathic Accuracy and Aggression in Couples: Individual and Dyadic Links
It therefore enables researchers to further explore the associations between empathic accuracy and observed demand behavior, as well as potential moderators of this association e. Materials and methods Ethics statement The study was approved by the ethical committee of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of Ghent University, Belgium. The recruitment strategy enlisted couples to volunteer for the study through posters and social media notices on the one hand and by masters'-level students in clinical psychology recruiting couples in their own vicinity on the other hand.
Couples who expressed an interest in participating were contacted by the first author, informed in general terms about the project, and evaluated to determine whether they met the inclusion criteria i. Inadequate knowledge of the Dutch language and being members of same-sex couples were used as exclusion criteria.
Participants could withdraw from the investigation at any time and without giving any reason for their withdrawal.
The first set of measures on the online questionnaire were demographic items. The responses to these items revealed that the average reported relationship length was The respondents' average age was Procedure After providing written informed consent, the partners in each couple independently completed an internet survey. Each partner was asked to fill out this questionnaire at home in advance of the second appointment and this at their own pace, as the questionnaire could be interrupted and resumed.
The questions addressed both individual—e. The questionnaires that are relevant to the current dataset are discussed in greater detail below. Couples who completed the questionnaires were then scheduled to attend a laboratory session in which they participated in an min videotaped conflict interaction task that was followed by a post-interaction video review task. At the end of their participation, the couples were fully debriefed. This questionnaire consists of 6 items assessing global relationship satisfaction e.
The total score, which could range from 6 to 45 with higher scores indicating higher levels of satisfaction, was obtained by summing the scores of all the individual items.
Empathic Accuracy and Aggression in Couples: Individual and Dyadic Links
The conflict interaction task In the observational part of the study, the couples were invited to participate in a conflict interaction task that was similar to those used in previous studies of relationship conflict e.
The couples were escorted into a laboratory that was furnished as a living room and was equipped so that the partners' interaction could be video-recorded with their prior knowledge.
Both partners granted their permission for this recording by means of a written consent form. In advance of their conflict discussion, the partners were separately asked to select a problem or issue from a list of common conflict topics in intimate relationships of which the source was either the partner or the relationship and which caused relationship distress or recurring disagreement.
Empathic Accuracy and Observed Demand Behavior in Couples
After this problem selection had occurred, the partners were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: We hypothesized that poorer EA would be related to higher levels of aggression reported retrospectively for the previous 6—12 months. The simultaneous examination of both individual and dyadic effects allowed us to narrow the range of possible mechanisms linking IPV with EA. Recruitment efforts focused on obtaining a diverse sample with respect to levels of functioning, relationship status, and socioeconomic background, with an oversampling of couples with a history of partner aggression.
Eligible couples had to be English speaking and living together for a minimum of 12 months but not necessarily married prior to participating. Recruitment efforts were successful in sampling a diverse population of couples. The mean age for men was The median length of relationship for the couples was 1. The ethnic makeup of the sample was Participants varied widely in their education experience: Violence was present in 68 of the couples, In 55 of these 68 couples violence was bilateral both partners were violent toward the other.
In six couples only the man was violent toward his partner, and in seven couples only the woman was violent toward her partner.
Before the interaction task, partners were asked in individual interviews to identity an incident in the past month or two in which their partner did something that frustrated, disappointed, upset, or angered them. Each participant recorded on audiotape a one- or two-sentence statement summarizing the incident and reaction. Partners were then brought together and, in counterbalanced order, discussed one incident identified by the man and one identified by the woman in cases where both partners identified the same incident, a second incident identified by one of the partners was used.
The audiotaped summary of each incident was played to initiate discussion, and participants were told to try to come to a better understanding of what occurred.
Discussions lasted 8 minutes. The device has a knob that moves across an point scale that ranges from very negative through neutral to very positive. Past research has established the validity of this and similar video recall procedures for obtaining reports of affective experience e.
These included the two second segments from each discussion in which each partner reported being the most emotionally negative yielding a total of four negative HAMs for the coupleand the second segment identified by each partner as most emotionally positive yielding two positive HAMs.
In the second phase of the cued-recall task participants were shown the six HAMs in order of occurrence during the discussion. The video recall procedure used in this study builds on the widely used EA paradigm pioneered by Ickes and colleagues see Ickes,for a review in which participants are asked to indicate what they believe their partners had reported thinking and feeling during moments of their own videotaped interaction.
Independent coders then rate the amount of agreement in content between dyad members using a 3-point scale that ranges from essentially different content to essentially the same content Ickes, Comparison of the two sets of responses independent of an evaluative judgment of similarity could provide a more informative gauge of empathy by using a more continuous and naturalistic measurement of accuracy.
Regardless of how individuals may differentially interpret or use a Likert-type reporting scale, of concern is whether husbands and wives track the overall pattern of a complex array of emotions. Using a scale that ranges from 1 not at all to 7 very muchparticipants were asked to rate how much they felt each of the emotions during each of the six HAMs. The Hostile Emotions scale consisted of the following emotion states: The Vulnerable Emotions scale was formed by collapsing two related factors into one to capture elements of both sadness and anxiety.
The Vulnerable Emotions scale was composed of the following emotions: The emotion variables comprising the Positive Emotions scale included: Good internal reliability range of alpha coefficients: This resulted in six correlations one for each HAM for each emotion scale, which were then aggregated into an overall EA score representing the average EA for that emotion scale across all six moments.