This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Accepting Influence in Military Couples: Implications for Couple- and Family-Level Outcomes




Peterson, Clairee

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Studies


Accepting influence is a salient couple-level phenomenon, first observed by Coan, Gottman, and colleagues (1997), that is well-known to impact outcomes amongst couples. While accepting influence has been discussed as vital for couple satisfaction and stability, to date, no studies have actually examined the beneficial effects of accepting influence on couple relationships. Rather, the literature has focused on the detrimental effects of refusing influence leading to adverse couple-level outcomes. Using a dyadic sample of military couples (n = 244), a population for which accepting influence may be particularly helpful, this study uses an actor-partner interdependence model with data from each partner to investigate the relationship between accepting influence and positive outcomes for both couples and families. Specifically, this study adds to the literature by examining accepting influence as it is related to service members’ and civilian spouses’ reported couple communication satisfaction and satisfaction with the family, using systems theory and spillover hypothesis as a theoretical foundation. Actor effects for both service members and civilian spouses show that accepting influence is related to both couple communication satisfaction and satisfaction with the family; civilian spouses’ reports of accepting influence were also related to their service member partners’ outcomes. Implications for clinical practice and future directions for measurement and research of accepting influence are discussed.