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Dyadic coping, daily marital tension, and overall marital adjustment in stepfamily couples Maris, Catherine L.


This investigation explored the relation between marital outcomes and daily coping in stepfamily couples. Two types of marital outcomes were examined: overall marital adjustment and daily marital tension. Specifically, it was hypothesized that respondent and spouse coping would each explain unique variance in marital adjustment and in daily marital tension levels. In addition, the association between marital outcomes and specific interactions of respondent and spouse coping strategies was examined. Seventy-eight couples participated in all phases of the study, which included a 45-minute structured telephone interview and a structured one-week diary. Marital adjustment was assessed by means of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976). Daily coping was measured using the Revised Ways of Coping Scale (Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, DeLongis, & Gruen, 1986). Marital tension was also assessed on a daily basis. Analyses revealed no significant associations between marital adjustment and respondent or spouse coping. Respondent marital tension was found to explain a significant amount of the variation in day-to-day marital tension. However, no significant independent effects of either spouse coping or respondent and spouse coping interactions were found.

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