This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Intergenerational Effects of Family Expressiveness On Marital Communication and Conflict Behaviors




Stevens, Sam

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


The purpose of the present study is to gain a greater understanding of the precursors of marital conflict and communication patterns by examining their relationship with expressiveness in the family of origin. Married individuals (N = 184; 97 men and 97 women) completed questionnaires that assessed their perceptions of both positive and negative expressiveness of mother and father while the respondent was growing up, and current marital communication and conflict behaviors used with their spouses. Only mother positive expressiveness was significantly related to positive communication and conflict behaviors, and this relationship was found only for sons. Results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated that mother and father negative expressiveness significantly predicted negative marital communication and conflict behaviors for sons and daughters. This was the case for both sons and daughters even though parental negative expressiveness was reported at lower levels than positive expressiveness. Data on current parent-child conflict were available for half of the sample. Parent-child conflict did not significantly contribute to the understanding of individuals’ marital communication and conflict behaviors.