This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Me, You, and Us: Affectivity Predicting Interactive Behaviors in Older Couples’ Relationship Narratives




Mangone, Allison

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Studies


The current study was developed to investigate how older spouses’ self-reported positive and negative affectivity were associated with their behavioral interactions during a relationship narrative task. To accomplish this goal, the current study used observations of 62 older married couples sharing the history of their relationship together. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the unique contributions of one’s own affectivity and that of one’s spouse to individual, spousal, and couple interactive behaviors. Results revealed that wives’ negative affectivity was negatively related to their own observed positive affect, her husbands’ communication skills, and couples’ overall enjoyment/fun. Additionally, her negative affectivity was positively related to her display of negative affect during the task. For husbands, his positive affectivity was positively associated with his own observed positive affect and with couple engagement and enjoyment/fun during the task. Possible explanations for these findings and clinical implications are discussed.