Year

2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Psycology (Clinical)

Department

Department of Psychology

Abstract

What emotional skills do people need to have a satisfying, close personal relationship? Two studies examined the relationship between measures of emotional competence and relationship satisfaction. The four aspects of emotional competence examined were effective social and emotional problem solving, accurate identification and describing of emotions, adaptive expression of emotions and effective management of emotions. 421 university students participated in study 1 (322 females; 99 males). 232 of these participants were in a relationship and 71 partners responded. 409 university students participated in study 2 (327 females; 82 males). 209 of these participants were in a relationship and 93 partners responded. Correlational and regression analyses revealed that the best predictors of close relationship satisfaction were ambivalence over the expression of intimacy emotions and difficulty identifying emotions. These effects held even after controlling for social desirability and a wide variety of other potential confounds. The basic and applied implications of these results are discussed.

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