Marital Interaction - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780122931505, 9781483265988

Marital Interaction

1st Edition

Experimental Investigations

Authors: John Mordechai Gottman
eBook ISBN: 9781483265988
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th September 1979
Page Count: 334
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Marital Interaction: Experimental Investigations deals with experimental studies on marital interaction. Emphasis is on the importance of the role of description in the study of social interaction. Methods for the analysis of pattern and sequence, including cross-spectral time-series analysis, are also presented.

Comprised of 15 chapters, this book begins with a historical review of several research traditions that have concerned themselves with families and marriages: the sociological tradition; the family therapy or systems tradition; the social learning tradition; and the developmental tradition. Research that points to the potential importance of the observation of consensual decision-making processes is also reviewed. A model of marital interaction called the Structural Model, which can be used to predict changes in marital satisfaction, is described. Subsequent chapters focus on the Couples Interaction Scoring System, an observational system for categorizing marital interaction; modern concepts of the assessment of reliability, particularly the stringent assessment that is necessary for sequential analysis; differences between well-functioning and poorly functioning marriages; couples' interactional styles in terms of communication skill deficits; and the concept of an individual's social competence.

This monograph will be of interest to psychologists engaged in research on marriage, as well as sociologists and clinical researchers.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Historical Traditions

The Sociological Tradition

The Family Therapy Tradition

The Social Learning Tradition

The Developmental Tradition

Chapter 2 Sequential Analysis

The Importance of Sequence

Communication and Sequence

What Is Information?

What Is Redunancy?

Structure and Pattern in a Sequence of Codes

Sackett's Lag Analysis

Appendix 2.1

Chapter 3 The Structure of Interaction

The Search for Structure

The Content of the Patterning

Patterns of Positiveness

A Review of Literature on Reciprocity

Review of Literature on Dominance

Structural Model of Marital Interaction

Comparison with Other Models

Chapter 4 The Couples Interaction Scoring System

Earlier Work in Identifying Components

The CISS Scheme for Identifying Components

Training Coders

Deriving CISS Content Codes

Nonverbal Codes of the CISS

Processing a Tape

Characteristics of the Summary Codes

Chapter 5 Reliability for Sequential Analysis

Differences Between Classical Reliability Theory and Generalizability Theory

Observer Agreement

Reliability Drift and Decay

Reliability of the CISS

Appendix 5.1

Chapter 6 The Topography of Marital Conflict

Procedures and Methodology

Results on Positiveness

Results on Reciprocity

Descriptive Analyses

Chapter 7 The Generality of the Topography Results: A Recoding Study

The Raush et al. Study

Recoding the Raush et al. Data

Comparing the Results of the Two Studies

Chapter 8 The Issue Focus


Improvisation as a Method

Empirically Obtained Domain of Problematic Situations

The Improvisation Study

Positiveness Results

Reciprocity Results: Sex Improvisation

Descriptive Analyses: Sex Improvisation

Reciprocity Results Across Improvisations

Spouse Differences

Detailed Descriptive Analyses—Fun Deck


Chapter 9 Styles of Marital Interaction in Clinic Couples

Classification on Basis of Observational Data

The Need for Classification for Clinical Intervention

A Proposed Classification System

Summary of Results and Conclusion

Chapter 10 Dominance in Marital Interaction

Introduction to Bivariate Time-Series Analysis

Univariate Time-Series Analysis

Bivariate Time-Series Analysis

Dominance in Marital Interaction

A Precise Interpretation of Dominance

Appendix 10.1

Chapter 11 The Individual Social Competence Hypothesis

Procedures and Subjects

Results and Discussion

Appendix 11.1

Chapter 12 The Couple's Perception of Their Interaction

The Need for a Cognitive System

Operationalizing Behavior Exchange: The Talk Table

Two Studies on the Talk Table

Predictive Validity of the Talk Table: The Markman Study

Relationships Between Perception and Behavior


Chapter 13 Couples' Interaction at Home

The Issue of Generalizability across Settings


Coding of Affect from Voice Tone



Chapter 14 Clinical Intervention: Applied and Theoretical Implications

Historical Introduction

Conceptions of Marital Distress Prominent in the 1950s

Bad Marriages and "Immature" Wives

Changing Conceptions of Diagnosis and Treatment

The Rise of Systems Theory

The Next Twenty-Five Years of Systems Theory

Behavioral Marital Therapy

Assessment of Behavioral Marital Therapy to Date

Empirical Program Development

Description of an Empirically Derived Marital Therapy Program

Phase One Assessment

Phase Two Assessment

Phase Three Assessment


Chapter 15 Epilogue: Structure Is Constraint


Materials Available from the Author on Request

Computer Programs


Subject Index


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Academic Press
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About the Author

John Mordechai Gottman

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