In good times and in bad : emotional quality of relationship-defining memory predicts quality of marriage

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephanie Carolyn Vick (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Nicole Alea

Abstract: The current study examined the intimacy function of autobiographical memory in adulthood by focusing on the relation between the emotional quality of autobiographical memory and marital quality. There were three specific study aims. First, the study examined whether the emotional valence (positive or negative) of autobiographical memory predicts marital quality. Second, it examined whether the emotional intensity of autobiographical memory is a stronger predictor of marital quality than valence. Third, the study examined whether the emotional quality (i.e., memory valence and intensity) of autobiographical memory predicts marital quality differently with age. Young, middle-aged, and older men and women (N = 268) participated in the study. Participants completed the study measures using an online survey tool. Measures included assessments of positive and negative marital quality. Participants also wrote about two relationship-defining autobiographical memories (one positive, one negative) and rated the emotional quality (i.e., valence and intensity) of these autobiographical memories. Regression analyses revealed that the valence and intensity of negative relationship-defining memories predicted marital quality: less negatively-valenced and less intense negative relationship-defining memories predicted better quality of marriage. Age moderated some of the relations between the emotional quality of relationship-defining autobiographical memories and the quality of marriage. Results are interpreted in the context of the theoretical intimacy function of autobiographical memory. A discussion of the limitations of the current study and its potential implications for marriage counseling is included.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Man-woman relationships, Marriage--United States, Quality of life--United States
Marriage -- United States
Quality of life -- United States
Man-woman relationships

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