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Emotional Dependency and Dysfunctional Relationship Beliefs as Predictors of Married Turkish Individuals’ Relationship Satisfaction

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In this study, we examined married individuals’ relationship satisfaction in relation to their emotional dependency and dysfunctional relationship beliefs. Our participants consisted of 203 female and 181 male, a total of 384 married individuals from urban cities of Turkey. Controlling the effects of gender and length of marriage, we performed a hierarchical regression analysis. Results revealed that married Turkish individuals’ relationship satisfaction was significantly explained by their emotional dependency ( sr² = .300, p < .001), and perceptions of interpersonal rejection ( sr² = .075, p < .001) and unrealistic relationship expectations ( sr² = .028, p < .001). However, interpersonal misperception did not make a significant contribution to the participants’ relationship satisfaction ( p > .05). When compared to perceptions of interpersonal rejection and unrealistic relationship expectations, emotional dependency had the largest role in explaining participants’ satisfaction with their marriages. We discuss the results in light of current literature as well as cultural relevance. We also provide implications for future research and mental health practices.
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The Spanish Journal of Psychology (2016), 19, e72, 1–8.
© Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid
doi:10.1017/sjp.2016.78
For decades now, social scientists have been studying
the factors effecting relationship satisfaction in order
to understand how some relationships continue over
time while others do not last. As Rusbult, Martz, and
Agnew (1998, p. 358) stated, “the implicit or explicit
assumption is that if partners love each other and feel
happy with their relationship, they will be more likely
to persist in their relationship.” Feeling happy with a
relationship is highly associated with what individuals
bring into their relationships. Particularly, individuals’
perceptions, expectations, and emotional responses are
crucial components of their happiness in relationships
while these factors are influenced by cultural practices
and may appear differently in different cultures.
Rusbult and Buunk (1993) defined relationship satis-
faction as an interpersonal evaluation of the positivity
of feelings for one’s partner and attraction to the rela-
tionship. In a complementary description, Caughlin,
Huston, and Houts (2000) stated that stable (intraper-
sonal) factors each partner brings to the marital rela-
tionship influence how they respond to one another,
which indirectly affect their marital satisfaction. For
example, relationships, which contained high levels of
pro-social maintenance strategies (e.g., positivity,
openness, assurances), were more likely to be stable
and committed, and individuals in these relationships
appeared to be more satisfied with their relation-
ships (Guerrero, Anderson, & Afifi, 2011). Therefore,
researchers have been examining different intrapersonal
factors associated with relationship satisfaction (e.g.,
Lockhart, White, Causby, & Isaac, 1994; Samenow, 1995).
However, the appearance of these intrapersonal factors
in different cultures may be variant. Therefore, there are
an increasing number of studies with non-Western as
well as cross-cultural examinations (e.g., Hamamcı, 2005;
Wendorf, Lucas, İmamoğlu, Weisfeld, & Weisfeld, 2011).
In the current study, we will examine different intraper-
sonal predictors of relationship satisfaction in a sample
from a largely collectivistic society, Turkey.
Romantic relationships typically address our deepest
needs for intimate human connection and are the
source of our emotional dependency on our partners.
As an important element of love, dependence is a
critical concept in many of the theories’ premises
guiding interpersonal relationship research (e.g., Hindy,
Schwarz, & Brodsky, 1989; Peele, 1988; Rubin, 1970).
One of the most influential theories, Interdependence
Theory (Kelley, 1979; Thibaut & Kelley, 1959), views
an individual’s dependence on a relationship as a
function of the degree to which goodness of received
outcomes in the current relationship in comparison to
Emotional Dependency and Dysfunctional
Relationship Beliefs as Predictors of Married Turkish
Individuals’ Relationship Satisfaction
Gülşah Kemer1, Evrim Çetinkaya Yıldız2 and Gökçe Bulgan3
1 Old Dominion University (USA)
2 Erciyes University (Turkey)
3 MEF University (Turkey)
Abstract. In this study, we examined married individuals’ relationship satisfaction in relation to their emotional dependency
and dysfunctional relationship beliefs. Our participants consisted of 203 female and 181 male, a total of 384 married
individuals from urban cities of Turkey. Controlling the effects of gender and length of marriage, we performed a hier-
archical regression analysis. Results revealed that married Turkish individuals’ relationship satisfaction was signifi-
cantly explained by their emotional dependency (sr2 = .300, p < .001), and perceptions of interpersonal rejection (sr2 =
.075, p < .001) and unrealistic relationship expectations (sr2 = .028, p < .001). However, interpersonal misperception did
not make a significant contribution to the participants’ relationship satisfaction (p > .05). When compared to perceptions
of interpersonal rejection and unrealistic relationship expectations, emotional dependency had the largest role in
explaining participants’ satisfaction with their marriages. We discuss the results in light of current literature as well as
cultural relevance. We also provide implications for future research and mental health practices.
Received 10 February 2016; Revised 14 October 2016; Accepted 17 October 2016
Keywords: dysfunctional relationship beliefs, emotional dependency, marriage, relationship satisfaction.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Gülşah Kemer. Assistant Professor. Counseling and Human Services.
Darden School of Education. Old Dominion University. 110. Education
Building. 23529. Norfolk (USA). Phone: +1–7576833225.
E-mail: gkemer@odu.edu
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2 G. Kemer et al.
the goodness of available outcomes in the individual’s
best alternative relationship. Other theoretical models,
such as Cohesiveness Model (Levinger, 1976) and
Investment Model (Rusbult, 1983), also raise the con-
cept of dependence in the estimation of relationship
permanence. As a basic type of interpersonal close-
ness, emotional dependency is related to unity and
connection; more specifically, it refers to the degree of
an individual’s need for their partner, belief that their
relationship is worth more than living alone or choosing
another partner, feeling that they cannot live with-
out their partner, and tendency to have a hard time
with being alone. According to Rusbult, Drigotas,
and Verette (1994), emotional dependency is strongest
when individuals put significant investment (i.e., time,
effort) and devotion into their relationships, and poten-
tial alternative relationships are unappealing. The
degree of emotional dependency may predict higher
relationship satisfaction or quality, but also lack of
autonomy. Higher emotional dependency in relation-
ships may also contribute to negative mood through
its role in generating negative interpersonal outcomes.
In both opposite-sex (e.g., Samenow, 1995) and same-
sex relationships (e.g., Lockhart et al., 1994), higher
emotional dependency was reported as a correlate of
abusive and controlling responses.
Individuals’ perceptions and expectations in a rela-
tionship are also important predictors of their relation-
ship satisfaction. Cognitive Theory suggests that the
endorsement of certain irrational expectations about
what makes relationships functional and healthy strongly
affects an individual’s ability to adjust within a rela-
tionship (Beck, 1976). Similarly, according to Rational
Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT; Ellis, 1955), psycho-
pathology is a result of people endorsing irrational
beliefs that sabotage their goals and purposes. At the
basis of all human disturbance, the tendency to make
devout, absolutistic evaluations of perceived events
lies, which also comes in the form of dogmatic musts
or shoulds (Ellis & Dryden, 1987). Likewise, Epstein
(1986) has pointed out that the most pervasive and
most enduring cognitive variables that led to marital
distress were extreme beliefs about one’s self, partner,
and nature of their relationship. Thus, a major focus of
research in investigating the relationship phenomena,
predominantly affective qualities such as satisfaction
and adjustment, has been on irrational beliefs as an
important facet of individual differences (Baucom,
Epstein, Sayers, & Sher, 1989).
Irrational thinking leads to self-defeating behavior
and, thus, is seen to affect poorer adjustment, while
more rational/functional thinking affects better adjust-
ment in romantic relationships (Stackert & Bursik,
2003). The cause of disturbed marital interactions also
involved unrealistic expectations that partners held not
merely about themselves and others, but also about the
marital affiliation itself (Ellis, Sichel, Yeager, DiMattia, &
DiGuiseppe, 1989). These unrealistic expectations were
also frequently found to be negatively correlated with
relationship satisfaction (Bradbury & Fincham, 1988;
Metts & Cupach, 1990; Moller & van der Merwe, 1997).
REBT suggests that a marriage ends when one or both
spouses hold irrational beliefs, being defined as highly
exaggerated, inappropriately rigid, illogical, and abso-
lutist (Dryden, 1985). Ellis and colleagues (1989) iden-
tified these irrational beliefs as (a) demandingness
(e.g., dogmatic shoulds about a spouse’s behavior and
the nature of marriage), (b) neediness (e.g., spouses
believe that they need to be lovingly mated because
otherwise they are worthless), (c) intolerance
(e.g., spouses convince themselves that they cannot
stand the problems they experience or anticipate in
their relationships), (d) awfulizing (e.g., being intol-
erant when things are not as they are supposed to be),
and (e) damning (e.g., taking the spouse’s feelings as a
mirror of one’s lovability and human value).
In the same line with cognitive theorists’ suggestions,
researchers found that married individuals’ dysfunc-
tional relationship beliefs (specifically, interpersonal
rejection, unrealistic relationship expectations, and
interpersonal misperception) were negatively corre-
lated to dyadic adjustment and marital satisfaction
(e.g., Sullivan & Schwebel, 1995). In a study with a non-
clinical Turkish sample, Hamamcı (2005) also found neg-
ative associations between married Turkish individuals’
dysfunctional relationship beliefs and, dyadic adjust-
ment and marital satisfaction. In another study, Sığırcı
(2010) reported that married Turkish individuals with
low levels of marital satisfaction tended to display more
avoidant and anxious attachment styles and held more
irrational beliefs when compared to those with a high
level of marital satisfaction. Güven and Sevim (2007)
also found that problem-solving skills and unrealistic
relationship expectations were significant predictors of
marital satisfaction among married Turkish individuals.
Despite similarities between the findings from
Western and Turkish samples, Goodwin and Gaines Jr
(2004) suggested differences in the level of dysfunctional
relationship beliefs across cultures. In their study, they
found a significant pan-cultural correlation between the
dysfunctional beliefs and relationship quality of manual
workers, students, and entrepreneurs from Georgia,
Hungary, and Russia. They also reported that country of
origin had a moderating effect where the dysfunctional
beliefs of Hungarian participants explained more than
four times of the variance in the relationship quality of
participants from the other countries.
On the other hand, gender and length of marriage
were frequently examined as important factors in
predicting married individuals’ relationship satisfaction.
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Relatıonshıp Satısfactıon 3
As previous research studies revealed contradictory
findings regarding the role of gender (e.g., Antonucci &
Akiyama, 1987; Heaton & Blake, 1999) and length of
marriage (e.g., Demir & Fışıloğlu, 1999; Karney &
Bradbury, 1997; Wendorf et al., 2011; Zainah, Nasir,
Hashim, & Yusof, 2012) in relation to relationship vari-
ables, we believe it is critical to control the effects of both
variables in predicting relationship satisfaction.
In brief, to date, no study has examined married
individuals’ emotional dependency and dysfunctional
relationships beliefs while monitoring the effects of
gender and length of marriage in a Turkish sample. We
believe that examining the contributors to relationship
satisfaction in a non-Western culture will expand our
understanding of relationship dynamics. Particularly,
discussion of cultural nuances will provide bases for
further research, such as comparative studies, as well
as mental health practices not only with individuals in
Turkey but also in other countries.
In the present study, we aim to examine the role of
emotional dependency and dysfunctional relationship
beliefs in predicting married Turkish individuals’
relationship satisfaction. Our overarching research
question is when gender and length of marriage are
controlled, what are the roles of emotional dependency
and interpersonal cognitive distortions, namely, inter-
personal rejection, unrealistic relationship expecta-
tions, and interpersonal misperceptions, in predicting
married Turkish individuals’ relationship satisfaction.
We hypothesize that, after controlling for gender and
length of marriage, (a) emotional dependency will be a
significant positive predictor whereas (b) interpersonal
rejection, (c) unrealistic relationship expectations, and
(d) interpersonal misperceptions will be significant
negative predictors of married Turkish individuals’
relationship satisfaction.
Method
Participants
Participants of the present study were 203 female (52.9%)
and 181 male (47.1%) married Turkish individuals with
an age range of 21 to 73 years (M = 35.98, SD = 8.00). The
average length of marriage among the participants was
10.09 years (SD = 8.24). Approximately 86% of the partic-
ipants had college degrees whereas 14% reported grad-
uate degrees. We used convenience sampling to recruit
the participants from urban cities of Turkey.
Instruments
Demographic information form
A self-report demographic information form included
questions regarding participants’ gender, age, length
of marriage, and education level.
Relationship assessment scale (RAS)
The Relationship Assessment Scale was developed by
Hendrick, Dicke, and Hendrick (1988) to measure the
relationship satisfaction of individuals in romantic
relationships. RAS includes seven items (e.g., How
good is your relationship compared to most?) with two
reverse-coded items and a five-point Likert scale
(1: Low Satisfaction, 5: High Satisfaction). In the original
study, one-factor solution explained 46% of the total
variance and the internal consistency for the total scale
was .86. The Turkish adaptation of the scale was con-
ducted by Curun (2001) with university students who
were currently in romantic relationships. The results of
the factor analysis yielded one factor accounting for
52% of the variance with an alpha coefficient of .86. In
the current study, we used a seven-point Likert scale
(Curun, 2001) and obtained a Cronbach alpha reli-
ability coefficient of .92 for the total scale.
Emotional dependency scale (EDS)
The nine-item (e.g., It would be difficult for me to live
without my partner) Emotional Dependency Scale was
developed by Buunk (1981) to measure emotional
dependency of romantic partners. EDS involves a
seven-point Likert scale (1: Completely Disagree, 7:
Completely Agree) and a reverse-coded item. The orig-
inal EDS was reported as one-dimensional with an
internal consistency of .81. Karakurt (2001) adapted
EDS into Turkish and also reported a one-factor struc-
ture explaining 48.2 % of the total variance with an
alpha coefficient of .87. In the current data set, EDS had
a Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient of .84.
Interpersonal cognitive distortions scale (ICDS)
The Interpersonal Cognitive Distortions Scale was
developed by Hamamcı and Büyüköztürk (2004) to
assess cognitive distortions in individuals’ interpersonal
relationships. The ICDS consists of 19 items represent-
ing three subscales, eight-item Interpersonal Rejection
(negative attributions of the individuals toward peo-
ple’s behaviors, characteristics, and beliefs related to
being close to others in their relationships; e.g., “Being
very close to people usually creates problems”), eight-
item Unrealistic Relationship Expectations (individuals’
high expectations concerning both their own behav-
iors and the behaviors of others in their relationships;
e.g., “In order for me to feel good about myself, other
people should have positive thoughts and feelings about
me”), and three-item Interpersonal Misperception (the
belief that individuals can predict the thoughts and
emotions of others without overt communication;
e.g., “Even though people would not express, I could
understand what they think”). Cronbach alpha internal
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4 G. Kemer et al.
Table 1. Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations for relationship satisfaction and predictor variables
Bivariate Correlations
Variables M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6
Relationship Satisfaction 39.63 8.80 .08 –.11* .56*** –.27*** –.12* .02
Predictor Variables
1. Gender .08* .03 .02 .15** .07
2. Length of marriage 10.09 8.24 –.08 –.01 –.03 –.08
3. Emotional Dependency 42.92 12.18 –.02 .11* .10*
4. Interpersonal Rejection 18.76 5.31 .29*** .24***
5. Unrealistic Relationship Expectations 23.33 5.46 .33***
6. Interpersonal Misperception 9.28 2.77
Note: N = 384, *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
consistency coefficient scores for each of the subscales
were found as .73, .66, and .43, respectively. Due to its low
reliability score, Hamamcı and Büyüköztürk (2004)
recommended using Interpersonal Misperceptions
subscale cautiously. Test-retest coefficient for 15-day-
interval was reported as .74. Convergent validity was
confirmed through the positive correlations among
ICDS subscales and the Turkish versions of Automatic
Thoughts and Irrational Belief Scales. Construct valid-
ity was also obtained through the positive correlations
between overall ICDS and the Conflict Tendency Scale.
In the current study, the Cronbach alpha coefficients for
the total ICDS was .81 while the alpha coefficients for
Interpersonal Rejection was .79, Unrealistic Relationship
Expectations was .74, and Interpersonal Misperception
was .77.
Data analyses
We performed all statistical analyses with the IBM
Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Version
22.0 (SPSS). A p value of .05 was deemed statistically
significant.
Preliminary analyses
Initially, we performed a series of data screening pro-
cedures to examine the assumptions for hierarchical
regressions analysis (e.g., sample size, univariate and
multivariate outliers, multicollinearity). First, to define
a minimum sample size for a robust power for the
study, we specified the power level at .80, alpha level at
.05, and minimum expected effect size at .05 for a
regression model including two observed (i.e., gender
and length of marriage) and five measured variables
(i.e., emotional dependency, interpersonal rejection,
unrealistic relationship expectations, interpersonal
misperception, and relationship satisfaction). The
recommended sample size was a minimum of 293
participants. With 384 participants, we obtained an
adequate sample size to claim robust results in the
current study.
We, then, examined the data for entry correctness
and missing values. Missing data was not more than
1% in any of the variables; thus, we conducted
Expectation Maximization (EM) to replace missing
values. The accuracy of data with the univariate and
multivariate outliers were examined through Z-scores,
Cook’s Distance, and Mahalonobis Distance values.
There were four cases exceeding the Z-scores range of
–3.29 –3. 29 (p < .001, two tailed test; Tabachnick &
Fidell, 2007). As a rule of thumb, we further examined
the Cook’s distance values for the univariate outliers.
We did not observe any cases exceeding the value of 1
for the Cook’s distance (Stevens, 2002). Examination of
Mahalanobis Distance for multivariate outliers did not
yield any cases exceeding the critical probability value
of .001, either (Stevens, 2002). Thus, we decided to
continue on our analysis with those four cases.
We also examined multicollinearity in the current data
set through observing tolerance and Variance Inflation
Factor (VIF) values. None of the tolerance values
were less than .1 or VIF values were greater than 10
(Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). Moreover, despite signifi-
cant bivariate correlations among the predictor variables
(i.e., Emotional Dependency, Interpersonal Rejection,
Interpersonal Misperception, Unrealistic Relationship
Expectations; see Table 1), none of the correlation coeffi-
cients indicated a large effect size (> .50; Cohen, 1988).
Therefore, the current data set appeared to meet the min-
imum requirements for conducting a hierarchical multi-
ple regression analysis. Table 1 also presents the means,
standard deviations, and the intercorrelations among the
dependent and predictor variables.
Hierarchical regression analysis
To analyze the data, we conducted a Hierarchical
(Sequential) Regression Analysis with two blocks.
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Relatıonshıp Satısfactıon 5
We entered gender and length of marriage into the first
block, and emotional dependency and the subscales of
ICDS (i.e., interpersonal rejection, unrealistic relation-
ship expectations, and interpersonal misperception)
into the second block. By entering gender and length
of marriage in the first block, we aimed at controlling
their effects on both outcome and predictor variables.
Results
Our results revealed that gender and length of marriage
together accounted for a small part of the variance. After
controlling for these two variables, emotional depen-
dency, interpersonal rejection, unrealistic relationship
expectations, and interpersonal misperception together
accounted for a relatively large portion of the variance
in married Turkish individuals’ relationship satisfac-
tion. Table 2 summarizes hierarchical regression analysis
results and each of the models.
According to the hierarchical multiple regression
analysis results, multiple correlation coefficient between
the linear combination of two predictors, gender and
length of marriage, and relationship satisfaction was
found .14. Gender and length of marriage significantly
predicted relationship satisfaction F(2, 377) = 3.93,
p < .05, R2 = .020. In this model, the combination of
these two predictors accounted for 0.2% of the vari-
ance in relationship satisfaction. The unique contribu-
tion of gender to the explained variance was found to
be insignificant t(377) = 1.79, p > .05 whereas length of
marriage significantly contributed to relationship
satisfaction t(377) = –7.54, p < .001, sr2 = .014. Particularly,
length of marriage had a negative contribution to rela-
tionship satisfaction (β = –.12). In other words, longer
length of marriage was related to lower levels of rela-
tionship satisfaction in our sample.
In Model 2, after controlling for the effects of gender
and length of marriage, multiple correlation coefficient
between the linear combination of emotional depen-
dency, interpersonal rejection, unrealistic relationship
expectations, and interpersonal misperception, and
relationship satisfaction elevated to .64. Model 2 was
also significant F(4, 373) = 60.79, p < .001, R2 = .407 and
four predictors together accounted for 39% of the vari-
ance in relationship satisfaction. In this model, emo-
tional dependency uniquely explained a big part of
the variance (30%) in relationship satisfaction with a
significant positive contribution t(373) = 13.73, p < .001,
β = .56. Interpersonal rejection, on the other hand,
explained 7.5% of the variance and had a significant
negative contribution to relationship satisfaction t(373) =
–.5.49, p < .001, β = –.23. Similarly, unrealistic relation-
ship expectations accounted for 2.8% of the variance
and was negatively associated to participants’ relation-
ship satisfaction t(373) = –3.29, p = .001, β = –.14.
Nevertheless, the contribution of the interpersonal
misperception to relationship satisfaction was not
significant t(373) = 1.34, p > .05.
Discussion
In the current study, we investigated to what degree
emotional dependency and dysfunctional relationship
beliefs (i.e., interpersonal rejection, unrealistic relation-
ship expectations, and interpersonal misperception)
predicted relationship satisfaction levels of married
Turkish individuals. The data supported three out of
four of our hypotheses. More specifically, when we
removed the effects of gender and length of marriage,
emotional dependency was a significant positive
predictor, whereas interpersonal rejection and unre-
alistic relationship expectations were significant nega-
tive predictors of relationship satisfaction. Contrary
to our expectations, interpersonal misperception did
not significantly contribute to participants’ relation-
ship satisfaction.
Table 2. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis predicting relationship satisfaction of married turkish individuals
R R2R2 Change Sig. F B SEB βsr2
Model 1 .143 .020 .020 3.93*
Gender .074 1.61 .900 .092 .008
Length of marriage .022 –.010 .005 –.117 .014
Model 2 .638 .407 .387 60.79***
Gender .022 1.64 .712 .093 .008
Length of marriage .000 –.007 .004 –.075 .006
Emotional Dependency .000 .401 .029 .555 .300
Interpersonal Rejection .000 –.385 .070 –.232 .075
Unrealistic Relationship
Expectations
.001 –.233 .071 –.144 .028
Interpersonal Misperception .182 .183 .137 .058 .004
Note: *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
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6 G. Kemer et al.
First, examining the degree to which emotional
dependency predicted relationship satisfaction in our
Turkish sample, we obtained an expected yet inter-
esting finding. Among the variables tested, emotional
dependency, explaining 30% of the variance, was the
biggest predictor of married Turkish individuals’ rela-
tionship satisfaction. Considering our basic need for
love, attachment, and closeness as human beings and
how much these needs are addressed in romantic rela-
tionships, emotional dependency’s significant positive
contribution to relationship satisfaction was an antici-
pated finding. Thus, the more emotionally dependent
individuals could be on their partners, the more satis-
fied they were with their relationships. Although higher
emotional dependency may be considered as dissipa-
tion of independence and autonomy, we believe our
finding was in line with Feeney’s (2007) empirical
evidence for the paradoxical hypothesis; indicating
acceptance of dependency promoting autonomous
functioning. In other words, with a converging and
convincing evidence for attachment theory’s proposition,
Feeney suggested that, by accepting and responding to
the significant other’s attachment needs, individuals
could explore the world confidently and indepen-
dently. This finding was also in line with Sığırcı’s (2010)
report stating that married Turkish individuals with
lower levels of relationship satisfaction displayed more
avoidant and anxious attachment styles. A positive,
mature, or healthy dependence in close relationships
could integrate the need for connection with others as
a factor of healthy human functioning (Bornstein, 2005;
Bornstein & Languirand, 2003). In a collectivistic
yet rapidly westernizing society, traditionally, Turkish
people tend to be emotionally connected and depen-
dent on one another in a deeper level both in their
social and romantic relationships. Feeling emotionally
connected to their partners, married Turkish individ-
uals may be comfortable enough to express themselves
in their relationships, feel loved, supported, and owned
by their partners as well as feel the ownership of their
partners. Being owned must be considered as a euphe-
mism for the feeling of belonging to one’s partner
where they do not feel lonely, but deeply connected
and fulfilled. Therefore, such a deep emotional connec-
tion is a crucial contributor to more satisfaction in
married Turkish individuals’ relationships.
Secondly, our hypothesis regarding interpersonal
rejection as a negative predictor of married Turkish
individuals’ relationship satisfaction was also supported.
This finding was also supportive of previous findings
from different profiles (e.g., Sullivan & Schwebel,
1995), yet was contrary to the findings with a Turkish
sample where marital satisfaction was not predicted
by interpersonal rejection and mind reading (Güven &
Sevim, 2007). Compared to individuals who were less
sensitive to interpersonal rejection, highly sensitive
individuals reported feeling less satisfied with their
romantic relationships while being more likely to have
negative beliefs about their relationships and exaggerate
the extent of their partners’ dissatisfaction (Downey &
Feldman, 1996). Downey and Feldman (1996) also
stated that individuals who were sensitive to interper-
sonal rejection had a tendency to anxiously expect,
quickly perceive and overreact to it. Being in a high-
context culture, Turkish people may be inclined to pay
significant attention to nonverbal cues and underlying
messages, and communicating in an indirect manner
in their relationships. Due to this tendency, Turkish
people could be prone to feeling rejected in their social
and romantic relationships as a result of reading into
vague interpersonal cues. The more partners experi-
ence such occurrences and keep it to themselves or act
impulsively on their perceptions, the relationship
satisfaction may decrease. Thus, increased sensitivity
to interpersonal rejection may decrease relationship
satisfaction and even lead to relationship termination.
Thirdly, as hypothesized, unrealistic relationship
expectations negatively predicted married Turkish
individuals’ relationship satisfaction. Güven and Sevim
(2007) also found that marital satisfaction was predicted
by partners’ unrealistic relationship expectations and
problem-solving skills. In their study with individuals
in dating relationships, Sullivan and Schwebel (1995)
reported that individuals with lower levels of irra-
tional relationship beliefs described their relationships
as more satisfying. Thus, the expectations we bring
into our relationships shape our thoughts, feelings,
and behaviors, and ultimately our satisfaction in that
relationship (Ellis, 1955). As Ellis and his colleagues
(1989) stated, when individuals contemplate on how
their partners should behave and the nature of their
marriage should be, they become intolerant in their
relationships and impatient with their partners. In the
same line with what we discussed earlier, feeling a
deeper connection with their partners, some Turkish
individuals may give and expect a great deal of atten-
tion and affection in their relationships. Not having
their expectations met may lead to lower satisfaction
with their relationships as well as marital distress
(Epstein, 1986).
Lastly, contrary to our hypothesis, interpersonal
misperceptions did not significantly predict relation-
ship satisfaction among married Turkish individuals.
In summary, married Turkish individuals in this study
reported that their relationship satisfaction was posi-
tively related to their emotional dependency and neg-
atively associated with their interpersonal rejection and
unrealistic relationship expectations.
The main limitation of the current study was the
convenience sampling strategy. Our participants were
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Relatıonshıp Satısfactıon 7
also living in urban cities in Turkey and had college
and above degrees. Participants with different demo-
graphics may yield different results. Therefore, our
results cannot be generalized to the entire society
living in Turkey.
Our findings yielded additional questions to be
examined in future research. Comparisons of individ-
uals from rural and urban settings and/or from different
education backgrounds in terms of their emotional
dependency, cognitive distortions, and other relation-
ship dynamics (e.g., jealousy, trust, marriage type)
could reveal a more comprehensive understanding of
married Turkish individuals’ relationship satisfaction
and quality. In addition, in the current study, we only
gathered data from married individuals. Studies that
include data from both partners would provide better
understanding of the dyadic dynamics. Considering
the increasing divorce rates in Turkey, such studies
would facilitate better understanding of relationship
satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Furthermore, studies
examining relationship satisfaction of dating, cohabit-
ing, and same-sex couples would also provide valuable
knowledge of similarities and differences among diverse
romantic relationship groups in Turkey.
Our study results also have implications for mental
health professionals working with couples and rela-
tionship issues. In the globalized world we live in,
understanding individuals from different cultural
backgrounds is an important part of mental health
professionals’ practices. Specifically, a better under-
standing of the marital dynamics of individuals coming
from collectivistic societies could be useful for practi-
tioners who are trained and are working in Western
societies. Even though our findings supported univer-
sal patterns between relationship-oriented emotional
and cognitive characteristics and relationship satisfac-
tion, cognitive distortions could be defined differently
in different societies. Thus, working with clients within
their perspectives based on their cultural backgrounds
while helping them to understand themselves and their
culture is a challenging, but crucial goal of therapy. On
the other hand, in the quickly westernizing Turkish
society, Turkish mental health professionals may also
want to take emotional dependency as well as percep-
tions of interpersonal rejection and unrealistic relation-
ship expectations into consideration while working
not only with couples, but also with individuals. Due
to the changing nature of the society, individuals’ rela-
tional issues may be connected to their personal struggles
with emotional dependency and distorted relationship
views. In brief, therapists, particularly those working
with cognitive-behavioral models, could make use of our
findings in terms of challenging clients’ irrational beliefs
in relation to themselves, their partners, and their rela-
tionship, and even societal expectations.
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... The exertion of trying to preserve the affection and approval of one's partner (Lemos et al., 2019) paves the way for irrational beliefs such as feeling unable to be loved and hopelessness in the relationship. As also emphasized by Buunk (1981), while mentioning the variables regarding marital relations and the quality of the relationship is concerned (Kemer, Çetinkaya Yıldız, & Bulgan, 2016), the concept of emotional dependency should not be ignored. The aforementioned condition might concurrently trigger conflicting behaviors in communication (Dattilio & Patesky, 1990;Möller & De Beer, 1998). ...
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... Esto posiblemente indica que se trata de un problema globalizado que requiere más atención. Además, la DE ha sido informada en adolescentes (González-Jiménez & Hernández-Romera, 2014), estudiantes universitarios (Jaller-Jaramillo & Lemos-Hoyos, 2009) y adultos (Kemer et al., 2017). Sin embargo, la mayoría de los trabajos se centraron en grupos de adultos jóvenes: donde las relaciones sentimentales suelen ser menos maduras y ser la causa de estados emocionales muy fuertes, tanto positivos, como negativos (Wilson-Shockley, 1995), esta labilidad e intensidad emocional podría ser un factor importante asociado a la DE detectada. ...
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U.S. studies indicate that children tend to stabilize marriage but, paradoxically, to reduce marital satisfaction. To explore whether this finding exists in a similar fashion in other cultures, the authors studied the impact of number of children on spousal love in the United States, United Kingdom, and Turkey, while accounting for other marital demographics (such as duration of marriage and the ages of wives and husbands). The number of children predicted diminished marital satisfaction in couples from all three cultures, although this effect arguably was not present in Turkish wives. In addition, marital satisfaction in couples from all three cultures was generally negatively predicted by the duration of marriage. Marital satisfaction was generally unrelated to wife’s age. The effect of husband’s age was important to marital satisfaction in couples from all cultures, although the nature of this effect diverged in relating positively to marital satisfaction for British and American couples but negatively for Turkish couples and especially Turkish wives. The authors identify several potentially important implications of these results.
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Used a longitudinal study of heterosexual dating relationships to test investment model predictions regarding the process by which satisfaction and commitment develop (or deteriorate) over time. Initially, 17 male and 17 female undergraduates, each of whom was involved in a heterosexual relationship of 0-8 wks duration, participated. Four Ss dropped out, and 10 Ss' relationships ended. Questionnaires were completed by Ss every 17 days. Increases over time in rewards led to corresponding increases in satisfaction, whereas variations in costs did not significantly affect satisfaction. Commitment increased because of increases in satisfaction, declines in the quality of available alternatives, and increases in investment size. Greater rewards also promoted increases in commitment to maintain relationships, whereas changes in costs generally had no impact on commitment. For stayers, rewards increased, costs rose slightly, satisfaction grew, alternative quality declined, investment size increased, and commitment grew; for leavers the reverse occurred. Ss whose partners ended their relationships evidenced entrapment: They showed relatively low increases in satisfaction, but their alternatives declined in quality and they continued to invest heavily in their relationships. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Over the past 2 decades, a variety of studies on domestic violence has confirmed that abuse is widespread. This increased attention to violence in intimate relationships has been focused on heterosexual couples, despite the assertion that 4-10% of the population is homosexual. Violence among lesbian couples has largely been ignored by family violence researchers, but clinical practitioners who are sought out by the battered and/or the batterers for therapy are well aware of the extent and nature of the battering that takes place in these relationships, and that battering is not limited to heterosexual relationships. This exploratory study takes a step toward an understanding of lesbian violence by examining the incidence, forms, and correlates of violence in lesbian relationships. Based upon the responses of 284 lesbians to a questionnaire, it was found that lesbian violence is not a rare phenomenon. This finding reflects the need for further research into this social problem in all intimate relationships, including homosexual relationships.
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This article employs interdependence theory as a means of understanding how and why some relationships survive difficult times whereas other promising relationships end. Interdependence theory makes important distinctions between satisfaction and dependence. These distinctions are extended in the investment model, a theory of the process by which individuals become dependent on and committed to their relationships. The investment model suggests that dependence increases not only as a consequence of increasing satisfaction, but also because available alternatives are perceived to be poor and numerous important resources are invested in a relationship. Subjective commitment summarizes the nature of an individual's dependence on a partner, and represents broad, long-term orientation toward a relationship. Strong commitment not only makes individuals more likely to remain with their partners, but also promotes a variety of relationship maintenance behaviors such as adaptive social comparison and perceived relationship superiority, derogation of attractive and threatening alternatives, effective management of jealousy and extrarelationship involvements, willingness to sacrifice for the good of a relationship, and tendencies to accommodate rather than retaliate when a partner behaves poorly.