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“Does Couples’ Communication Predict Marital Satisfaction”


The research by Lavner et al. (2016) observed positivity, negativity, and effectiveness of 431 newlywed couples to determine the relationship between communication and the level of satisfaction. The researchers analyzed the behavior and attitude of the couples four times every nine months. The results demonstrate that cross-sectionally, relatively satisfied couples engaged in less negative, more effective, and positive communication. Longitudinally, the associations between satisfaction to communication and communication to satisfaction were not robust. Consequently, the authors argue that the interventions and theory that prioritized good skills of communication as the main predictor for the high level of satisfaction within the relationship are unreliable.

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Communication was considered as the key towards relationship satisfaction, but the nature of such association was discreet. Therefore, the research results of Lavner et al. (2016) demonstrates new pathways for exploration. Although the research included a sample of diverse newlywed couples in low-income communities, it should be noted that the results may be inconsistent and non-generalizable with other populations, for example, same-sex, ethnically diverse, and remarried couples, or those who have not been married. Cross-lagged analyses of the reciprocal relationship between communication and satisfaction revealed the directionality of the cross-sectional effects.

Consequently, it was found that only seven cross-lagged effects out of 36 in 9-month lags supported the idea of a communication-to-satisfaction cause and effect relationship. Although, the data from the first and fourth waves have not demonstrated the change in satisfaction. The research data suggests that poor communication may lead to a change in satisfaction level but does not support the idea that it consistently makes couples less satisfied. Satisfaction was a more reliable predictor with twice as many correlated cases. However, the data consistency was low, similar to the communication as the predictor. Therefore, it is essential to introduce a more nuanced approach to the couple satisfaction cause and effect hypothesis.

Successful Relationship

The authors analyzed different communication behaviors such as positivity (endearment and warmth), negativity (contempt and hostility), and effectiveness (solution generating and assertive). The cross-sectional association revealed that husbands’ satisfaction correlated with positivity, and negative communication resulted in diminishment at each time point. However, effectiveness was not correlated with satisfaction at the first and the second time points. The association was marginal at the third point, and a positive association was found on the fourth point. For wives, the situation is slightly different as satisfaction was connected to the effectiveness at every time point. In summary, it can be concluded that communication between more satisfied partners proceeds in a positive manner.


The article is valuable as it provides an insight into the nature of the relationship between newlyweds and the way to approach treatment of such relationships. For personal therapeutic sessions, the main idea of the article will be incorporated. Mainly the fact that improvement of communication between partners could be a vital first step towards treatment of their relationship but not sufficient for permanent change. Therefore, as per suggestion from the authors, it would be necessary to make interventions for the patients to help them understand and process the difficulties they experience and guide them towards a more effective resolution.

Consequently, the couple would be able to nurture higher-order dyadic capacities. In other words, they would understand why some problems are difficult to overcome and when to be concerned. These skills are beneficial and provide long-term positive effects on satisfaction compared to discussing difficulties with each other. In summary, the article is helpful for the therapy of low-income heterosexual couples as it suggests possible approaches to conflict resolution.


Lavner, J. A., Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (2016). Does couples’ communication predict marital satisfaction, or does marital satisfaction predict communication? Journal of Marriage and Family, 78(3), 680-694.

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StudyCorgi. (2023, January 26). “Does Couples’ Communication Predict Marital Satisfaction”. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2023, January 26). “Does Couples’ Communication Predict Marital Satisfaction”.

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