Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



We investigated spouses’ ability to engage in a positive interaction following relationship conflict, a process that involves skills in recovering from distress and reconnecting with one’s partner. The quality of positive interactions was hypothesized to vary as a function of attachment and have implications for marital satisfaction. Newlywed couples discussed a conflict in their relationship followed by a discussion of positive aspects of their relationship. We hypothesized and found that greater attachment avoidance in husbands predicted less positive behavior in both partners during the positive interaction. Additionally, wives’ positive behavior predicted both partners’ relationship satisfaction, even above and beyond caregiving and careseeking behavior during the conflict. The findings point to the importance of examining not only how couples discuss conflicts, but also how they behave in the aftermath of those discussions.

First Advisor

Paula R Pietromonaco

Second Advisor

Sally I Powers

Included in

Psychology Commons