Observed Communication and Relationship Quality in Female Same-gender Couples.

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


Communication, Lesbians, Same-sex couples, Sexual orientation, Relationship quality


Relationship interventions typically focus on reducing destructive communication patterns between partners. However, a dearth of research exists regarding communication dynamics within female same-gender (FSG) couples. The current study sought to expand basic science on communication dynamics within FSG couples with the overarching goal of informing relationship interventions. Participants included 102 adult FSG couples who provided self-report data and participated in observational communication tasks. Actor–partner interdependence models (Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006) were used for analyses predicting relationship adjustment, dedication, and psychological aggression. Findings suggest that actors’ negative and positive communication patterns were associated with relationship quality outcomes. Negative communication demonstrated stronger associations with relationship quality and psychological aggression compared with positive communication, and partner’s positive communication was associated with psychological aggression. Overall, results suggest that communication processes traditionally addressed by relationship interventions would likely be beneficial to focus on with FSG couples. Clinical implications are discussed, including how to incorporate cultural competence into relationship interventions for FSG couples.

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