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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Both men and women behaved more positively during the partner-initiated conversations than during their own-initiated conversations. Modern relationships carry tremendous burdens. Partners must stoke romantic and sexual excitement and provide emotional support while fulfilling financial, household, and in most cases child nurturance responsibilities. In relationships that strive toward egalitarian decision-making, all of these areas must be negotiated in a climate in which social structures defining roles have been reduced or eliminated and expectations for a fulfilling relationship have risen Counts, The shear scope of the financial and human resources and responsibilities to be allocated, re-allocated, and maintained makes conflict both inevitable and of intense interest to scientists and interventionists as a key determinant of relationship satisfaction and long-term health and viability.

Many theories have considered changes that partners want from each other and the conflicts that can ensue from those desires. For example, Social Exchange Theory e. A key facet of this theory is that partners reference their dyadic outcomes to a comparison level their expectations of the outcomes due to them in a relationship and a comparison level for alternatives their expectations of the outcomes they could receive in another relationship. Thus, desired change operates both on a specific level e.

An extension of social exchange theory, Equity Theory e.

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According to Equity Theory, partners who believe they are overrewarded will feel guilty and those who believe they are underrewarded will feel angry; both are motivated to rectify the imbalance. The Ideal Standards Model e. Coughlin and Vangelisti Coughlin and Vangelisti have found support for both a personality-driven influence on change seeking i.

Despite intense public, scientific, prevention-oriented, and therapeutic interest in both desired changes and gender differences in relationship desires, surprisingly few studies have overtly studied specific areas of desired change. Further, differences in relationship adjustment may be qualified by an interaction with gender; Margolin et al. Satisfied men, followed by satisfied women, desired the least amount of change from their partners.

Margolin et al. Despite the extensive literature, two assumptions that are foundational for deriving meaning and inferring generalizability from observation of couples conflict have been underexplored.

The first assumption is that women desire more change than men, leading some researchers e. In the few studies that have investigated male- and female-initiated conversations, communication affect and behavior differed depending on whose topic was being discussed. One study found that women, compared with men, displayed more negative affect in both male- and female-initiated conversations and more positive affect only during female-initiated discussions Johnson et al.

This varied, however, depending on whose topic was discussed. These Lady want sex Stony Brook emphasize the importance of controlling who initiates discussions because who has a greater investment in the issue being discussed appears to influence the interaction.

The Johnson and Johnson et al. The first major aim is to examine desired changes. First we hypothesized that women, compared with men, will desire more change from their partners cf. Second, because women engage in more instrumental household tasks than men do e. Third, we will investigate the impact of gender and relationship adjustment on desired change. In other words, we hypothesize that men and women who are more satisfied are more similar in the amount of change they desire than are men and women who are less satisfied.

Finally, we will explore the specific areas of change to determine if men and women want change in that area, in what direction the desired changes are, whether men and women differ in their desired change in specific areas, and if gender differences in desired changes in specific areas remain after taking into differences in total desired changes. In this sample derived from a representative sampling frame, we expect to replicate findings suggesting that whose topic is discussed affects observed communication behaviors e.

We hypothesize that women will display more negative communication behaviors and affect during both male- and female-initiated conversations and that women, compared with men, will display more positive behaviors and affect only during their own conversations Johnson et al. This study included couples individuals from Suffolk County, New York, recruited via random digit dialing, who were a married and living together or cohabiting 2 for at Lady want sex Stony Brook one year, b had between the ages of 3—7 years for whom either the respondent or the partner was the biological parent, and c able to speak English.

Research assistants calledrandomly generated telephone s and 12, respondents answered at least one question of the telephone screening survey. Respondents completed the telephone survey that assessed demographic characteristics as well as family functioning variables.

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Data collected from telephone respondents were compared with the U. Comparisons of those who were eligible but chose not to participate to the participant demographic data revealed few statistically ificant differences between participants and non-participants and the few ificant differences had small effect sizes. Participants were non-Hispanic white The ACQ assesses 34 possible areas of change that one partner desires of the other i. Absolute values for items were summed to create a variable indicating the total amount of change desired. Summary variables were also created for the amount of desired behavioral increases and decreases.

The ACQ was added later in the larger study; therefore, scores are available for men and women. The DAS is a item measure of perceived relationship adjustment. The basic coding unit is the speaker turn; if a speaker turns lasts longer than 30 seconds, it is coded in second intervals. Coders as only one of the eleven codes to each unit; if two or more codes are present during a speaker turn, a theoretically derived hierarchy i.

Because of technical difficulties with audio recording during data collection, 1 out of interactions was missing; multi-level modeling, however, uses robust estimation techniques and can adjust for missing data Kenny et al. Couples came to the laboratory for a total of six hours. Informed consent was obtained. Partners separately a completed the questionnaires and b were interviewed regarding areas in which change was desired i. The staff member read a list of areas that are commonly problematic for couples and asked the participant to list any behaviors that fell into each category, to indicate how often that issue was discussed within the past year, and rate that desired change on an importance scale ranging from 1-not important to 6-very important.

The list included changes desired in partner behavior in the areas of housework or yard work, children, extended family, relatives, and in-laws, money or finances, recreation, free time, or social activities, work, and how the partner treats the participant. Participants were also given an opportunity to provide issues of their own that were not covered by these. After both interviews were completed, the staff member used a randomized list to determine whose conversation would be first and selected topics of conversation based on the topics that received the highest rating of importance.

If more than one topic had similar importance Lady want sex Stony Brook two or more issues with importance ratings of 6participants were asked to select the one topic they considered to be the most important. Partners were brought together in the video-recording studio and discussed the problem for 10 minutes.

Afterward, partners were separated and completed questionnaires about the conversation and others unrelated to the current study. This procedure was repeated for the second conversation. After the participants completed both conversations, the questionnaires and other procedures, they were paid, offered a list of community resources, and debriefed. To test the first hypothesis women desire more change than men dogender was the MLM level one variable, couple membership was the level two variable, and total desired change was the dependent variable.

Table 1 shows descriptive statistics for the variables. To test the second hypothesis women will desire behavioral increases more than will men, even after controlling for relationship adjustmentgender and adjustment were the level one variables; couple membership was the level two variable.

Desired change, the dependent variable, was calculated by summing items in which the respondent wanted a behavioral increase from the partner i. A parallel exploratory analysis was conducted for desired behavioral decreases.

To address the third hypothesis women will want even more change [increases or decreases] as their adjustment declines than men willgender and adjustment were entered as the level one variables; couple membership was the level two variable. Actor-Partner Interdependence Model for marital adjustment and total amount of desired change. Table 2 shows the amounts of change men and women desired i. Both men and women wanted ificant change on Lady want sex Stony Brook items i. As a very conservative test, we tested if the gender differences at the item level remained after removing gender differences in overall change desired by total desired change [minus that specific change item] on each desired change item and comparing the means.

No item level gender differences remained. We also re-ran the comparisons see online supplemental Table 1taking into both the amount of change and the direction of change i. This was important to conduct because Table 2 showed whether change was desired, not the nature of the change i. indicated that for drinking, disciplining children, and having non-sexual relationships, both men and women have offsetting endorsements, with some people wanting their partners to discipline the children more, for example, but with other people wanting their partners to discipline the children less.

The second major purpose of this study was to replicate findings suggesting that whose topic is discussed affects communication between partners. Women, compared with men, were expected to evidence more negative communication behaviors during both male- and female-initiated conversations and women were expected to display more positive behaviors only during their own conversations. The MLM level one variables were gender and who initiated the topic; the level two variable was couple membership. The proportion of positive behaviors evidenced by men and women in male- and Lady want sex Stony Brook conversations.

The proportion of negative behaviors evidenced by men and women in male- and female-initiated conversations. The of this study indicate that desired change within established heterosexual relationships is linked with gender and relationship adjustment. As hypothesized, women endorsed higher amounts of desired change than men did, replicating findings Margolin et al.

Also as hypothesized, women wanted behavioral increases more than men did. In addition, women wanted men to work less more than men wanted that from women. These findings suggest that women think that men are not investing enough of themselves e. This would suggest that relationship events may not be as salient to men, leading them to not remember possible changes they may want. If another method were used e. On the other hand, ephemeral desired changes may not be important to either daily nor distal relationship health, making summary self-reports such as the Areas of Change Questionnaire a more valid measure of the key elements of the construct.

This result is inconsistent with that of Margolin et al. However, this cannot be attributed to different analytic strategies in the two studies — as a check, we replicated Margolin et al. The difference in findings could be due to the types of samples used in the two studies our sample: parents of 3—7 year old children drawn from representative sampling frame; Margolin et al. The result that those lower in adjustment want more change from their partners is congruent with research Margolin et al.

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If adjustment is greater, then perhaps individuals are not as likely to notice specific things that they want their partners to change or they are more willing to let things go as they come up and not keep a running tally of things they want their partner to change e. Although this could be due to common reporter variance i. Of particular clinical importance, in every domain in which men or women wanted a differential amount of increased or decreased partner behavior, both genders wanted ificant change in the same direction just not as much.

For example, both men and women desire ificantly more sex, but men want even more change than women do; both men and women desire increases in spending time together, but women want even more change than men do.

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Many studies have focused on one or two female-initiated conflict discussions, with the rationale being that these conversations are more generalizable because women desire more change than men do e. If behaviors occurring during female-initiated conversations were the only behaviors analyzed, one could have concluded that men were more positive than women were and women were more negative than men were.

However, we found the hypothesized interaction between gender and who initiated the discussion. Specifically, women were more positive than men only during male-initiated conversations. Moreover, women were more positive in male-selected topics than men were during female-selected topics.

Although women were more negative than men in both male- and female-initiated conversations, women were ificantly less negative during male-initiated conversations than they were during their own conversations. This richer picture of couples communication would not have been found in studies using topics selected only by the female partner. Thus, women would have appeared generally less positive and more negative than they actually have the potential to be when the initiator of the discussion is changed.

These are in Lady want sex Stony Brook with the conflict structure explanation of dyadic interactions that suggests that the way men and women behave during interactions can be attributed to the roles e. The clinical implications of the observational findings suggest that clinicians should thoroughly assess problems that both partners have in the relationship because it is likely that the issues are multifaceted and communication skills can vary depending on who initiates the discussion.

There are several strengths of the de and analytic strategy used in this study. Analytic strategies were used that control for interdependence of dyadic data so that effects could be isolated i. Finally, many of the of the current study are concordant with research e. There are several limitations to the current study. First, because participants were cohabiting or married heterosexual couples with children between ages three and seven, the of this study cannot necessarily be generalized to other kinds of couples e. Additionally, the sample for this study was largely White.

Predominantly ethnic minority samples may demonstrate different relationship processes than the current sample. As noted earlier, about desired change from questionnaires may differ from those using methods such as daily diaries. In conclusion, in relationships with at least one young child, both men and women desire change, but in several key areas — instrumental support, emotional and companionate behaviors and parenting — women want more behavioral increases than men do; men want more increases in sexual interaction than women do.

Overall, men and women want changes in the same directions on a host of behaviors. There are gender differences in the degree of change wanted on some behaviors. Preventionists and therapists can use these nomethic findings to generally guide interventions and to look for similar patterns with individual couples.

Couples in conflict may have an easier time negotiating solutions if they perceive that they desire similar changes, with a sticking point being the matter of degree. We would like to thank Tessa West for her statistical consultation on multi-level modeling. We would also like to thank the hundreds of undergraduate research assistants who coded the videos, conducted the random digit dialing survey, and managed the data. Finally, we would like to thank the hundreds Lady want sex Stony Brook families who volunteered to expose some of their most vulnerable issues for the long-term benefit of helping others.

Because constructive problem discussion is categorized as a neutral code and this was not of interest in the current studyit was not included in the positive or negative clusters. Still, data were analyzed using multi-level modeling to determine if the order of conversations affected positive and negative conversation behaviors. There were no ificant for positive behaviors. However, this did not interact with gender or who initiated the conversation.

Publisher's Disclaimer: The following manuscript is the final accepted manuscript. It has not been subjected to the final copyediting, fact-checking, and proofreading required for formal publication. It is not the definitive, publisher-authenticated version.

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