ArticlePDF Available

Neuroticism and Close Relationships: How Negative Affect is Linked with Relationship Disaffection in Couples


Abstract and Figures

Dispositional vulnerability afforded by personality can lead to adverse relationship outcomes. Neuroticism personality is bundled with a disadvantageous temperament that makes people high in neuroticism more sensitive to negativity. Consequently, neuroticism signifies negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and sadness. Neuroticism is also inversely related to marital satisfaction. The present study examined the relationship between relationship disaffection (emotional indifference) and negative affect in the context of neuroticism. The present study included 819 participants (511 females, 308 males) between the ages of 18 years to 74 years (M = 27.16, SD = 10.58) who were in a committed or married heterosexual relationship. Our mediation model explored the relationship between neuroticism and relationship disaffection with negative affect acting as a mediator. We found a modest indirect relationship between neuroticism and relationship disaffection via negative affect. Acknowledging that individuals high in neuroticism are temperamentally sensitive to negative stimuli, therapists can assist partners in learning ways to curb negative mood to combat relationship disaffection. Future studies can build on these findings and design research addressing the limitation of the present study.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
The American Journal of Family Therapy
ISSN: 0192-6187 (Print) 1521-0383 (Online) Journal homepage:
Neuroticism and Close Relationships: How
Negative Affect is Linked with Relationship
Disaffection in Couples
Irum Saeed Abbasi, Neelam Rattan, Tehmina Kousar & Fatma Khalifa
To cite this article: Irum Saeed Abbasi, Neelam Rattan, Tehmina Kousar & Fatma Khalifa
Elsayed (2018): Neuroticism and Close Relationships: How Negative Affect is Linked
with Relationship Disaffection in Couples, The American Journal of Family Therapy, DOI:
To link to this article:
Published online: 07 Jun 2018.
Submit your article to this journal
View related articles
View Crossmark data
Neuroticism and Close Relationships: How Negative Affect
is Linked with Relationship Disaffection in Couples
Irum Saeed Abbasi
, Neelam Rattan
, Tehmina Kousar
, and Fatma Khalifa Elsayed
San Jose State University, Psychology, San Jose, USA;
San Jose State University, Psychology, San Jose,
Fatima Jinnah Women University, Psychology, Rawalpindi, Pakistan;
King Abdul Aziz
University, Arts and Humanities, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Received 31 July 2017
Revised 20 March 2018
Accepted 27 March 2018
Dispositional vulnerability afforded by personality can lead to
adverse relationship outcomes. Neuroticism personality is
bundled with a disadvantageous temperament that makes
people high in neuroticism more sensitive to negativity.
Consequently, neuroticism signies negative emotions such as
anger, anxiety, and sadness. Neuroticism is also inversely related
to marital satisfaction. The present study examined the
relationship between relationship disaffection (emotional
indifference) and negative affect in the context of neuroticism.
The present study included 819 participants (511 females, 308
males) between the ages of 18 years to 74 years (MD27.16, SD D
10.58) who were in a committed or married heterosexual
relationship. Our mediation model explored the relationship
between neuroticism and relationship disaffection with negative
affect acting as a mediator. We found a modest indirect
relationship between neuroticism and relationship disaffection
via negative affect. Acknowledging that individuals high in
neuroticism are temperamentally sensitive to negative stimuli,
therapists can assist partners in learning ways to curb negative
mood to combat relationship disaffection. Future studies can
build on these ndings and design research addressing the
limitation of the present study.
Personality, partly determined by genetics, is relatively stable (Bouchard & McGue,
2003; Ganiban et al., 2009). The classical way of describing human personality
involves the Big Five personality dimensions: conscientiousness, openness to expe-
rience, neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness (Longley et al., 2017; McCrae
& Costa, 1997). The inuence of personality traits on mood and behaviors, which
eventually affect marital outcomes, is studied extensively (Akram & Malik 2011;
Gattis, Berns, Simpson, & Christensen, 2004; Karney & Bradbury, 1995;1997;
Knabb & Vogt, 2011; Luo et al., 2008; McCabe, 2006; Nemechek & Olson 1999). A
meta-analysis of marital research based on the Big Five traits found that
CONTACT Irum Saeed Abbasi
© 2018 Taylor & Francis
neuroticism is most strongly related to negative marital outcomes when compared
with the other four personality traits (Heller, Watson, & Ilies, 2004; Karney &
Bradbury, 1995). Generally, individuals high in neuroticism report less satisfaction
with their partners (Gattis et al., 2004; White, Hendrick, & Hendrick, 2004) than
those who are low in neuroticism. For the present study, we were interested in the
neuroticism personality dimension; therefore, we will limit our discussion to
Neuroticism is described as a tendency to experience negative affect and is also a
measure of mood and emotional control (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Individuals high
in neuroticism are "prone to have irrational ideas, be less able to control their
impulses, and cope more poorly than others with stress" (Costa & McCrae, 1992,
p.14). Such individuals are typically portrayed as anxious, moody, and depressed,
which is contrasted by the calm demeanor and good emotional control displayed
by individuals who are low in neuroticism (Costa & McCrae, 1992; Orchard &
Fullwood, 2010). Research on personality and emotional distress revealed that
symptoms of general distress (e.g., anger, depression, and anxiety) are related to
personality, particularly neuroticism (Costa & McCrae, 1995; Smith & Mumma,
2008). There are many facets of neuroticism such as anxiety, angry hostility, self-
consciousness, vulnerability, and depression (Renshaw, Blais, & Smith, 2010); nev-
ertheless, neuroticism is more often used interchangeably with negative affectivity,
which is a disposition towards reporting "distress, discomfort, and dissatisfaction
over time and regardless of the situation, even in the absence of any overt or objec-
tive source of stress" (Watson & Clark, 1984, p. 483). With this temperament, it is
no surprise that neuroticism is linked with experiencing low social support (Swick-
ert, Hittner, Harris, & Herring, 2002), feelings of loneliness (Correa, Hinsley, & de
Zuniga, 2010), and fear of rejection (Malone, Pillow, & Osman, 2012).
In the context of romantic relationships, individual differences in neuroticism are
strongly connected with marital dissatisfaction (Abbasi, 2017;Gattisetal.,2004;Karney
& Bradbury, 1995; Malouff, Thorsteinsson, Schutte, Bhullar, & Rooke, 2010;White
et al., 2004). Theoretically, many models support this connection. For example, the
relationship-inuence model holds that the characteristic traits that spouses bring to
the marriage may inuence their overall interpersonal relationship course (Caughlin &
Vangelisti, 2000). In this context, the interpersonal model (Caughlin, Huston, & Houts,
2000; Karney & Bradbury, 1997) suggests that individuals high in neuroticism experi-
ence low relationship satisfaction because they create negative events, which are
bolstered by negative behaviors. Furthermore, the intrapersonal model (Cot
Moskowitz, 1998) contends that individuals high in neuroticism perceive life events
more negatively, which in turn affects their relationship satisfaction. Empirical research
suggests that individuals high in neuroticism maintain a signicantly higher negative
affect even in neutral conditions (Abbasi, 2016). The contrast avoidance model explains
that individuals high in neuroticism tend to maintain a higher baseline negative affect
to combat the unexpected emotional shifts (Newman & Llera, 2011). Thus, during an
aversive interaction, these individuals may reach their negative affect threshold and feel
overwhelmed with negative emotions, and eventually withdraw from the distress caus-
ing situation (Caughlin & Huston, 2006) rather than engaging in confrontation. Behav-
iors adopted during the romantic relationship may also play an important role in the
link between neuroticism and relationship outcomes. For example, evidence suggests
that sexual relationship mediates the connection between neuroticism and marital satis-
faction (Fisher & McNulty, 2008).
Furthermore, low relationship satisfaction is linked with relationship dissatisfac-
tion, which also facilitates the development of marital disaffection (Kayser, 1996).
Marital disaffection is dened as a gradual loss of love involving the "loss of emo-
tional attachment, a decline in caring, [and] an increasing sense of apathy and
indifference toward ones partner" (Kayser, 1996, p. 83). This romantic decline
that involves an emotional and affective deadening in couples is synonymously
also called romantic disengagement (Barry, Lawrence, & Langer, 2008). Relation-
ship disaffection signicantly contributes to marital breakdown (Kayser, 1993),
and disaffected spouses engage in cognitive and behavioral strategies that are
focused on disengaging with the partner physically, psychologically, and emotion-
ally (Barry, 2010; also see Abbasi & Alghamdi, 2017). In this paper, we will use the
term relationship disaffection to refer to disaffection experienced by partners in a
close relationship.
As noted earlier, individuals high in neuroticism tend to maintain a height-
ened negative arousal than those who are low in neuroticism (Costa &
McCrae, 1992). Therefore, it is plausible that individuals high in neuroticism
may experience relationship disaffection because of their disposition towards
perceiving and maintaining increased negative affect than those who are low
in neuroticism. We explored a mediation model to examine the direct and
indirect paths between neuroticism and relationship disaffection. Essentially
our models explored if neuroticism is signicantly positively related to rela-
tionship disaffection via negative affect (H1). We base our support for the
proposed mediation model on the intrapersonal model (Cote ́&Moskowitz,
1998) and contrast avoidance model (Newman & Llera, 2011). Acknowledging
that negative affect is a facet of neuroticism and is also correlated with neu-
rotic traits, we suggest that it is this negative affect facet that could be making
people high in neuroticism withdrawn from their partner.
The present study included 819 participants (511 females, 308 males) between the
ages of 18 years to 74 years (MD27.16, SD D10.58). Participants included in the
analyses were either in a marital (31.5%) or committed heterosexual relationship
(68.5%). The committed participants were younger (MD22.88, SD D7.80) than
married participants (MD35.98, SD D10.83). The sample was ethnically diverse:
White (34.5%), Asian (37.9%), Hispanic (20.9%), African American (5.7%), and
Native American (1%). The education of participants ranged vastly; 39.1% partici-
pants reported completing a high school diploma, 17% an Associates degree,
30.0% a Bachelors degree, 10.4% a Masters degree, 2.2% a Doctorate degree, and
1.3% a Post-Doctorate degree. The participants were mostly from the United States
(77.2%). Incomplete surveys (4%) were excluded from the analyses. Moreover,
participants who reported to be diagnosed with the mental illness were excluded
from the analyses to avoid confounding negative affect state with mental illness
(e.g., depression).
An institutional review board (IRB) at a public US university approved the present
study. The study included an anonymous online survey administered through the
SurveyMonkey website. Participation was solicited through Snowball sampling.
The survey link was shared on the approving universitys research website, twitter,
Facebook, Linkedin, and Whats-app. Additionally, Amazon Mechanical Turk
(MTurk) was employed to recruit a wider demographic of participants. MTurk is
an online service that offers requesters(researchers) to post Human Intelligence
Tasks(HITS) for workers(participants) who independently visit the website
through a weblink. The survey link directed participants to the consent form rst,
which was followed by the main survey.
Demographic questionnaire
The demographic questionnaire included items that assessed age, gender, ethnicity,
education level, occupation, marital status, and so on.
The negative affect scale. The 10 item negative affect subscale from the positive
affect and negative affect schedule (PANAS) was used in the study. PANAS is a
20-item self- report measure developed by Watson, Clark, and Tellegen (1988)to
provide a brief measure of positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA). The 10
NA scale items refer to negative mood experiences such as distressed, guilty, afraid,
ashamed, and nervous. To avoid mood priming, three PA affect random llers
(e.g., interested, strong, and inspired) were incorporated in the NA scale. Partici-
pants rated the degree to which they momentarily experienced each of the 13
mood conditions on a 5-point scale (1DNot at all and 5 DExtremely). The reli-
ability of NA scale for this study was high (CronbachsaD.88). The three PA
items were not included in the analyses.
Neuroticism scale
For this study, we administered the eight item neuroticism subscale of the Big
Five Inventory (BFI). BFI contains 44 short items that cover ve major per-
sonality dimensions (John, Donahue, & Kentle, 1991). Example items include:
can be tense, worries a lot, and gets nervouseasily.Theresponseformatof
BFIisbasedona5-pointscale(1Ddisagree strongly and 5 Dagree strongly).
Some of the neuroticism scale items were reverse scored and then summed up
to get the nal score. Reliability of the neuroticism scale for this study was
high (CronbachsaD.82).
Marital disaffection scale (MDS)
Kayser (1996) developed a 21-item self- report scale to measure the level of marital
disaffection. MDS measures the elements of emotional estrangement in couples by
focusing on the experiences of indifference, lack of care, and lack of attachment
towards ones partner (Flowers, Robinson & Carroll, 2000). The marital disaffec-
tion scale is related to other evaluative scales of marital happiness (r.56) and
marital closeness (r.86; Kayser, 1996). Kayser (1996) also reported a correla-
tion of .93 (p<.001) between the MDS and Snyder and Regtsscale of disaffection
(1982). Some of the example items of MDS include: I try to avoid spending time
with my spouse, I often feel lonely even though I am with my spouse, I nd it dif-
cult to conde in my spouse about a number of things, and I seem to enjoy just
being with my spouse. The response format of the marital disaffection scale is
anchored on a 4-point Likert scale (1Dnot at all true, 4= very true). Some items
were reverse scored and all responses were summed up to get the total score.
Higher scores depict greater marital disaffection. The reliability of MDS for this
study was high (CronbachsaD.91).
Table 1 shows the Pearsons bivariate correlations and mean and standard devia-
tions of the study variables and controls. For the main analyses, we conducted the
mediation analyses using HayesPROCESS Macro Model 4. For this procedure,
model 4 with 5000 bootstrapped resamples is used to compute 95% condence
Table 1. Pearson bivariate correlations and mean and standard deviations of variables (N D819).
Scales 1 2 3 4 5
1. Neuroticism .31
2. Negative Affect .24
3. Relationship Disaffection .11
4. Age ¡.16
5. Gender
M 23.10 14.57 33.45 27.01
SD 6.35 5.75 9.86 10.73
Correlation is signicant at the
Correlation is signicant at the
intervals (Hayes, 2013). In this model, neuroticism is added as a predictor variable
(X), marital disaffection is added as an outcome variable (Y), and negative affect is
added as a mediator (M). Age, gender, and the relationship status of the respond-
ents are added as control variables. In the mediation model, the relationship
between neuroticism and negative affect is denoted as [a] and the relationship
between negative affect and marital disaffection is denoted as [b]. The direct effect
is denoted as [c'], the total effect is denoted as [c] and the indirect effect is com-
puted by multiplying the two path coefcients of [a] and [b] (Hayes, 2009,2013;
Zhao, Lynch, & Chen, 2010). The PROCESS macro results show that neuroticism
predicts negative affect (path a: bD.27, t(814) D8.90 , p<.001, R
D.15) and
negative affect predicts marital disaffection (path b: bD.43, t(813) D7.02, p<
.001, R
D.10). The total effect, which represents the relationship between neuroti-
cism and marital disaffection is signicant (path c: bD.24, t(814) D4.30, p<.001,
D.05). The direct effect representing the relationship between neuroticism and
marital disaffection when the mediator is present is also signicant, but the effect
is reduced (path c': bD.12, t(813) D2.10, pD.04). We report partial mediation of
negative affect. The direct effect remains signicant when mediator is added, albeit
reduced. The indirect effect is computed at .01 level of signicance (Hayes, 2009,
2013; Zhao et al., 2010). The mediating role of negative affect between neuroticism
and marital disaffection is signicant (a £b) (bD.12, [.08, .17].
The current study reports that negative affect acts as a mediator in the relation-
ship between neuroticism and marital disaffection. Sobel test (normal theory test)
which checks if c-cis different is also signicant (zD5.50, p<.001). In essence,
our model suggests that neuroticism is linked with marital disaffection partially
through negative affect. Figure 1. shows the total and direct effects of neuroticism
on marital disaffection.
Empirical research supports that neuroticism and negative affect are very
closely related; neuroticism is also related to adverse marital outcomes such as
relationship disaffection (Sadati, Honarmand, & Soodani, 2015;Watson&
Clark, 1984;Whiteetal.,2004). The goal of the present paper was to examine
Negative Affect
Figure 1. Total and direct effects of neuroticism on relationship disaffection. Total effect in paren-
theses. Correlation is signicant (
if negative affect plays the role of a mediator in the link between neuroticism
and relationship disaffection. It is plausible that individuals high in neuroti-
cism and those who also have an elevated negative affect are more susceptible
to adverse marital outcomes. Consistent with the previous ndings (Sadati
et al., 2015), we found that an increase in neuroticism level corresponded to
an increase in the level of relationship disaffection. Our mediation model was
partially supported; when negative affect was added as a mediator, the indirect
effect of neuroticism on relationship disaffection via negative affect was signif-
icant and direct effect was reduced; albeit, it remained signicant. These
results suggest that the negative affect facet of neuroticism partially predicts
relationship disaffection. Insights from the present study could be used to
carve a therapeutic treatment plan for partners struggling with romantic
Implications for Therapists
The potential implications of the present study for romantic partners and
therapists are pertinent. In clinical settings, therapists treating clients who are
high in neuroticism (or have partners who are high in neuroticism) should
focus on how neuroticism could adversely inuence the couplesrelationship
and well-being. Clinicians could educate partners about the role of their neu-
rotic traits and assist them in gaining insight and taking control of their emo-
tions. Chronic stress related to poor marital adjustment has signicant
negative implications on the health of spouses (Caughlin & Huston, 2006;
Loving, Heffner, & Kiecolt-Glaser, 2006). For example, when relationship sat-
isfaction is low, depressive symptoms tend to be high (Whitton, Stanley,
Markman, & Baucom, 2008). It is noteworthy that individuals high in neuroti-
cism have an added disadvantage as neuroticism itself predicts transitory
symptoms of anxiety, anger, and depression (Martin, Watson, & Wan, 2000).
Researchers have previously examined predictors of relationship dissatisfaction
and divorce (Bradbury, Fincham, & Beach, 2000; Karney & Bradbury, 1995), and
have found neuroticism to be a longitudinal predictor of marital distress and sepa-
ration (Eysenck & Wakeeld, 1981; Kelly & Conley, 1987). Neuroticism also pre-
dicts actors (self) and partners negative communication behaviors (Caughlin
et al., 2000). Some researchers, however, argue that negative relationship outcomes
specic to neuroticism are not related to the nature of couples communication
behaviors (Karney & Bradbury, 1997). Despite this inconsistency, research sup-
ports that an adverse pattern of communication that involves high demand/with-
draw (one spouse nags and the other avoids) is positively related to neuroticism of
either spouse (Caughlin & Vangelisti, 2000). For example, a longitudinal study
involving couples found a positive relationship between newly wed wivesneuroti-
cism scores and both forms of demand/withdraw seen in their relationship pat-
terns after thirteen years (Caughlin & Huston, 2006). This pattern may be cyclical;
demand from one partner in a dyad elicits withdrawal from the other partner, and
more withdrawal elicits more demand (Caughlin & Ramey, 2005). Moreover,
therapists also contend that it is difcult to break a rigid demand/withdraw com-
munication pattern (Caughlin & Huston, 2006).
Romantic partners may withdraw from conictual situations using dis-
engagement strategies (Nichols, Backer-Fulghum, Boska, & Sanford, 2015).
Researchers have identied two different types of conict disengagements: pas-
sive immobility and withdrawal (Sanford, 2014). During passive immobility, a
partner seeks to address the conictual situation but waits for the other part-
ner to notice and take initiative to resolve the problem (expectation of mind
reading); whereas, during withdrawal, the partner deliberately avoids conic-
tual interactions with an angry partner and becomes uncommunicative or
may leave during the discussion (Nichols et al., 2015). Withdrawal is analo-
gous to Gottmans(1993) stone-walling in which a partner becomes silent and
indifferent; it is also associated with "at emotion" which is comprised of
boredom, disengagement, and indifference (Sanford, 2007). Therefore, in cou-
ples therapy, interventions are often specically targeted to curb withdrawal
behaviors that are linked with relationship malfunctioning involving emotion,
attachment, and relationship cognition (Sevier, Eldridge, Jones, Doss, & Chris-
tensen, 2008).
Furthermore, one of the most cited reason underlying close relationship dis-
tress and/or divorce is romantic disengagement (Barry, 2010) or marital disaf-
fection (Kayser, 1993,1996). Nevertheless, evidence supports that couples who
have high marital disaffection scores are also susceptible to counseling
(Kayser, 1996). Therapists may choose to measure the level of relationship dis-
affection and neuroticism in couples. However, caution is advised when dis-
cussing relationship disaffection or neuroticism scores due to the possibility of
harm from labeling one partner disaffected or neurotic. Partners, especially
those who are high in neuroticism or have partners who are high in neuroti-
cism could be educated to better manage circumstances that produce conicts
so that manifestation of their dysfunctional behaviors could be curbed (Cau-
glin & Huston, 2006). Marital satisfaction is negatively linked with neuroti-
cism in self and in the signicant other (Renshaw et al., 2010); hence, both
actor effects (the effect of self on ones own marital adjustment) and partner
effect (the effect of partner on marital adjustment) should be taken into
account when considering the inuence of neuroticism on marital satisfaction
(Renshaw et al., 2010). It is worth noting that marriage is the most conse-
quential in the development of negative affect (Beach, Martin, Blum, &
Roman, 1993), therefore, therapists should educate partners to be receptive to
positive stimuli and make an effort to ignore negative stimuli in the
Notably, relationship disaffection is manifested in low levels of excitement
during spousal interactions and a general absence of strong positive emotions,
absence of open conict, and low levels of anger (Gottman, 1994,1999; Smith, Viv-
ian, & OLeary, 1990). In this context, emotionally focused therapy (EFT) can be
used to treat couples in distress. EFT is a multidimensional intervention that is
based on the attachment theory (Johnson & Greenberg, 1985). Attachment is the
basic human need for developing and maintaining a strong affectional bond with
the signicant other (Bowlby, 1988). Empirical evidence supports EFT interven-
tions for couples in therapy (Greenman & Johnson, 2013). EFT specically treats
attachment insecurity and attachment injury. Attachment insecurity is rooted in
the partners emotional disengagement or relationship disaffection for the signi-
cant other, which may surface in the form of negative interactions and negative
affect; whereas, attachment injury begins when the partner undermines the expec-
tation that the spouse could drive comfort at a critical moment from him or her
(Johnson, 2004). EFT treatment starts with identifying emotional experiences that
are rooted in problematic interactions. The therapist helps partners to be sensitive
and recognize their own as well as their signicant others emotional experiences,
which is followed by the restructuring of the couples interactional styles to reen-
gage the withdrawing partner. This could help in the development of a secure
attachment bond. The last step of EFT includes consolidation and integration of
the progress made in therapy (Greenman & Johnson, 2013). Also integrate behav-
ioral interventions as an additive to experiential and insight oriented models in
order clinical effectiveness with clients suffering from increased neuroticism.
Limitations and Future Directions
Several factors limit the scope of the current ndings. This study employed the
cross-sectional research design based exclusively on self-report measures collected
via the Internet. The cross-sectional design precludes us from examining the direc-
tion of the relationship between variables, and the self-report scales may be less
reliable and more biased. For example, someone who may be prone to increased
negativity may also be prone to evaluate his or her relationship disaffection more
strongly. Moreover, we did not match our 819 heterosexual participants with their
specic partner to identify if their partners also evaluated their relationship com-
paratively. Future studies can focus on dyads and explore how neuroticism
reported by both partners (self-reported and partner-reported) is linked to rela-
tionship disaffection, satisfaction, and closeness.
It is also important to mention that we did not control the environment in
which respondents took the surveys. Therefore, many variables could have con-
founded the results such as the time of the day, mental state, stress level, and
whether taken alone or in the presence of partner or others. Qualitative research
design can help researchers decipher hidden themes and guide them towards other
variables that may be affecting these results. Furthermore, these results cannot be
generalized to homosexual or bisexual populations because less than 1% of the par-
ticipants reported being in a non-heterosexual relationship. To avoid the sexual
preference confound, we only included the participants who reported to be in an
exclusively heterosexual relationship.
Other extraneous variables may also have confounded the results. For example,
researchers have found that workaholic tendencies and over-controlling behaviors
of partners are signicantly positively related to relationship disaffection
(Robinson, Carroll, & Flowers, 2001; Robinson, Flowers, & Kok-Mun, 2006). Also,
raised cortisol, catecholamines, and corticosteroids are linked with relationship
disaffection (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 1997). It was beyond the scope of the present
study to measure workaholic tendencies or hormonal levels, which could be mea-
sured in future research. Finally, evidence supports a signicant link between
depressive symptoms and marital adjustment (Whisman, Uebelacker, Tolejko,
Chatav, & McKelvie, 2006). Depression is also an important indicator of negative
affectivity (Watson & Clark, 1984). In this study, we excluded individuals who
reported to have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Nevertheless, there may still
be some individuals who may have had depressive symptoms but were not clini-
cally diagnosed. Future studies can measure depressive symptoms of the partici-
pants and employ longitudinal research design to track if uctuations in negative
affect due to stressors and/or depressive tendency could potentially have an
enhanced impact on neuroticism related relationship disaffection. Despite these
limitations, our study is a step forward in relationship research and is particularly
useful for clinicians who can use the insights from this study to devise a custom-
ized treatment plan for individuals who are high in neuroticism.
Authors Contribution
The lead author has contributed at-least 65% in this manuscript.
This research was presented at the Western Psychological Association (WPA) conference at
Portland, Oregon, USA.
Abbasi, I. (2016). The role of neuroticism in the maintenance of chronic baseline stress percep-
tion and negative affect. The Spanish Journal of Psychology,3(1), 19. doi:10.1017/sjp.2016.7
Abbasi, I. S., & AlGhamdi, N. (2017). Polarized couples in therapy: Recognizing indifference as
the opposite of love. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy,43(1), 4048. doi:10.1080/
Abbasi, I. S. (2017). Personality and marital relationships: Developing a satisfactory relationship
with an imperfect partner. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal,39(3),
184194. doi:10.1007/s10591-017-9414-1
Akram, H., & Malik, N. I. (2011). Relationship between personality traits and marital adjust-
ment of teachers. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business,3(4), 718
Barry, R. A., Lawrence, E., & Langer, A. (2008). Conceptualization and assessment of disengage-
ment in romantic relationships. Personal Relationships,15(3), 297315. doi:10.1111/j.1475-
Barry, R. A. (2010). Romantic disengagement as a developmental process that contributes to mar-
ital distress and decline (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from .
Beach, S. R., Martin, J. K., Blum, T. C., & Roman, P. M. (1993). Effects of marital and co-worker
relationships on negative affect: Testing the central role of marriage. American Journal of
Family Therapy,21(4), 313323. doi:10.1080/01926189308251002
Bouchard, T. J., & Mc Gue, M. (2003). Genetic and environmental inuences on human
psychological differences. Journal of Neurobiology,54,445. doi:10.1002/neu.10160
Bowlby, J. (1988). A Secure base. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Bradbury, T. N., Fincham, F. D., & Beach, S. R. H. (2000). Research on the nature and determi-
nants of marital satisfaction: A decade in review. Journal of Marriage and the Family,62,
964980. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00964.x
Caughlin, J. P., Huston, T. L., & Houts, R. M. (2000). How does personality matter in marriage?
An examination of trait anxiety, interpersonal negativity, and marital satisfaction. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology,78, 326336. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.78.2.326
Caughlin, J. P., & Vangelisti, A. L. (2000). An individual difference explanation of why married
couples engage in the demand/withdraw pattern of conict. Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships,17, 523551. doi:10.1177/0265407500174004
Caughlin, J. P., & Huston, T. L. (2006). Demand/withdraw patterns in marital relationships: An
individual differences perspective. In R. M. Dailey & B. A. Le Poire (Eds.), Applied Interper-
sonal Communication Matters: Family, Health, and Community Relations (pp. 1138). New
York, NY: Peter Lang.
Caughlin, J. P., & Ramey, M. E. (2005). The demand/withdraw pattern of communication in
parent-adolescent dyads. Personal Relationships,12(3), 337355.
Correa, T., Hinsley, A. W., & de Zuniga, H. G. (2010). Who interacts on the Web?: Intersection
of userspersonality and social media use. Computers in Human Behavior,26, 247253.
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PIR): Profes-
sional manual. Lutz, FL: Psycho- logical Assessment Resources, Inc.
Cote, S., & Moskowitz, D. S. (1998). On the dynamic covariation between interpersonal behav-
ior and affect: Prediction from Neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology,75, 10321046. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.75.4.1032
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1995). Domains and facets: Hierarchical personality assessment
using the revised NEO Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment,64,2150
Eysenck, H. J., & Wakeeld, J. A. (1981). Psychological factors as predictors of marital satisfac-
tion. Advances in Behavior Research and Therapy,3, 151192. doi:10.1016/0146-6402(81)
Flowers, C. P., Robinson, B. E., & Carroll, J. J. (2000). Criterion-related validity of the
Marital Disaffection Scale as a measure of marital estrangement. Psychological Reports,86,
Fisher, T. D., & McNulty, J. K. (2008). Neuroticism and marital satisfaction: The mediating role
played by the sexual relationship. Journal of Family Psychology,22(1), 112122. doi:10.1037/
Ganiban, J. M., Ulbricht, J. A., Lichtenstein, P., Hansson, K., Spotts, E. L., Reiss, D., & Neiderh-
iser, J. M. (2009). Understanding the role of personality in explaining associations between
marital quality and parenting. Journal of Family Psychology,23(5), 646660. doi:10.1037/
Gattis, K. S., Berns, S., Simpson, L. E., & Christensen, A. (2004). Birds of a feather or strange
birds? Ties among personality dimensions, similarity, and marital quality. Journal of Family
Psychology,18(4), 564574. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.18.4.564
Gottman, J. M. (1993). A theory of marital dissolution and stability. Journal of Family Psychol-
ogy,7,5775. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.7.1.57
Gottman, J. M. (1994). Why marriages succeed or fail: And how you can make yours last. New
York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Gottman, J. M. (1999). The marriage clinic: A scientically-based marital therapy. New York,
NY: Norton.
Greenman, P. M., & Johnson, S. M. (2013). Process research on emotionally focused therapy
(EFT) for couples: Linking theory to practice. Family Process,52(1), 4661. doi:10.1111/
Hayes, A. F. (2009). Beyond Baron and Kenny: Statistical mediation analysis in the new millen-
nium. Communication Monographs,76(4), 408420. doi:10.1080/03637750903310360
Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A
regression-based approach. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Heller, D., Watson, D., & Ilies, R. (2004). The role of person versus situation in life satisfaction:
A critical examination. Psychological Bulletin,130, 574600. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.
John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The big ve inventory-versions 4a and 54.
Berkeley, CA: University of California, Institute of Personality and Social Research.
Johnson, S. M. (2004). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy (2nd ed.). New York,
NY: Brunner-Routledge.
Johnson, S. M., & Greenberg, L. S. (1985). The differential effects of experiential and problem-
solving interventions in resolving marital conict. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychol-
ogy,53, 175184. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.53.2.175
Kiecolt-Glaser J. K., Glaser, R., Cacioppo, J. T., MacCallum, R. C., Snydersmith, M., Kim, C., &
Malarkey, W. B. (1997). Marital conict in older adults: Endocrinological and immunologi-
cal correlates. Psychosomatic Medicine,59, 339349.
Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (1995). The longitudinal course of marital quality and stability:
A review of theory, method, and research. Psychological Bulletin,118(1), 334. doi:10.1037/
Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (1997). Neuroticism, marital interaction, and the trajectory of
marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,72, 10751092.
Kayser, K. (1993). When love dies: The process of marital disaffection. New York, NY: Guilford
Kayser, K. (1996). The marital disaffection scale: An inventory for assessing emotional estrange-
ment in marriage. American Journal of Family Therapy,24(1), 8388. doi:10.1080/
Kelly, E. L., & Conley, J. J. (1987). Personality and compatibility: A prospective analysis of mari-
tal stability and marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,52,2740.
Knabb, J., & Vogt, R. (2011). The relationship between personality and marital adjustment
among distressed married couples seen in intensive marital therapy: An actor-partner inter-
dependence model analysis. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal,33(4),
417440. doi:10.1007/s10591-011-9167-1
Longley, S. L., Miller, S. A., Broman-Fulks, J., Calamari, J. E., Holm-Denoma, J. M., & Meyers,
K. (2017). Taxometric analyses of higher-order personality domains. Personality & Individ-
ual Differences,108, 207219. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.12.018
Loving, T. J., Heffner, K. L., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2006). Ive got you under my skin:
Physiology and interpersonal relationships. In A. L. Vangelisti & D. Perlman (Eds.),
Cambridge handbook of personal relationships. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Luo, S., Chen, H., Yue, G., Zhang, G., Zhaoyang, R., & Xu, D. (2008). Predicting marital satisfac-
tion from self, partner, and couple characteristics: Is it me, you, or us? Journal of Personality,
76(5), 12311266. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00520.x
Malone, G. P., Pillow, D. R., & Osman, A. (2012). The general belongingness scale (GBS):
Assessing achieved belongingness. Personality and Individual Differences,52(3), 311316.
Martin, R., Watson, D., & Wan, C. K. (2000). A three-factor model of trait anger: Dimensions of
affect, behavior, and cognition. Journal of Personality,68, 869897. doi:10.1111/1467-
Malouff, J. M., Thorsteinsson, E. B., Schutte, N. S., Bhullar, N., & Rooke, S. E. (2010). The Five-
Factor Model of personality and relationship satisfaction of intimate partners: A meta-analy-
sis. Journal of Research in Personality,44(1), 124127. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2009.09.004
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1997). Personality trait structure as a human universal. American
Psychologist,52(5), 509516. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.52.5.509
McCabe, M. P. (2006). Satisfaction in marriage and committed heterosexual relationships: Past,
present, and future. Annual Review of Sex Research,17(1), 3958.
Nemechek, S., & Olson, K. R. (1999). Five-factor personality simi- larity and marital adjustment.
Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal,27(3), 309318. doi:10.2224/
Newman, M., & Llera, S. (2011). A novel theory of experiential avoidance in generalized anxiety
disorder: A review and synthesis of research supporting a contrast avoidance model of worry.
Clinical Psychology Review,31, 371382. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.01.008
Nichols, N. B., Backer-Fulghum, L. M., Boska, C. R., & Sanford, K. (2015). Two Types of Dis-
engagement During CouplesConicts: Withdrawal and Passive Immobility. Psychological
Assessment,27(1), 203214. doi:10.1037/pas0000045
Orchard, L. J., & Fullwood, C. (2010). Current perspectives on personality and Internet use.
Social Science Computer Review,28(2), 155169. doi:10.1177/0894439309335115
Robinson, B. E., Carroll, J. J., & Flowers, C. (2001). Marital estrangement, positive affect, and
locus of control among spouses of workaholics and spouses of nonworkaholics: A national
study. The American Journal of Family Therapy,29, 397410.
Robinson, B. E., Flowers, C., & Kok-Mun, N. (2006). The relationship between workaholism and
marital disaffection: Husbandsperspective. Family Journal,14(3), 213220. doi:10.1177/
Renshaw, K. D., Blais, R. K., & Smith, T. W. (2010). Components of negative affectivity and
marital satisfaction: The importance of actor and partner anger. Journal of Research on Per-
sonality,44(3), 328334. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2010.03.005
Sadati, S. E., Honarmand, M. M., & Soodani, M. (2015). The causal relationship of differentia-
tion, neuroticism, and forgiveness with marital disaffection through mediation of marital
conict. Journal of family psychology,1(2), 5568.
Sanford, K. (2007). The Couples Emotion Rating Form: Psychometric properties and theoretical
associations. Psychological Assessment,19, 411421. doi:10.1037/1040-3590.19.4.411
Sanford, K. (2014). A latent change score model of conict resolution in couples: Are negative
behaviors bad, benign, or benecial? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,31(8),
10681088. doi:10.1177/0265407513518156.
Sevier, M., Eldridge, K., Jones, J., Doss, B. D., & Christensen, A. (2008). Observed communica-
tion and associations with satisfaction during traditional and integrative behavioral couple
therapy. Behavior Therapy,39, 137150. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2007.06.001
Smith, D. A., Vivian, D., & OLeary, K. D. (1990). Longitudinal prediction of marital discord
from premarital expressions of affect. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,58(6),
780798. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.58.6.790
Smith, P. N., & Mumma, G. H. (2008). A multi-wave web-based evaluation of cognitive content
specicity for depression, anxiety, and anger. Cognitive Therapy and Research,32,5065.
Snyder, D. K., & Regts, J. M. (1982). Factor scales for assessing marital disharmony and disaffec-
tion. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,50(5), 736 doi:10.1037/0022-
Swickert, R. J., Hittner, J. B., Harris, J. L., & Herring, J. A. (2002). Relationships among Internet
use, personality, and social support. Computers in Human Behavior,18(4), 437451.
Watson,D.,&Clark,L.A.(1984). Negative affectivity: The disposition to experience aver-
sive emotional states. Psychological Bulletin,96,465490. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures
of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychol-
ogy,54, 10631070. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063
White, J. K., Hendrick, S. S., & Hendrick, C. (2004). Big ve personality variables and relation-
ship constructs. Personality and Individual Differences,37(7), 15191530. doi:10.1016/j.
Whisman, M. A., Uebelacker, L. A., Tolejko, N., Chatav, Y., & McKelvie, M. (2006). Marital dis-
cord and well-being in older adults: Is the association confounded by personality? Psychology
and Aging,21(3), 626631. doi:10.1037/0882-7974.21.3.626
Whitton, S.W., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Baucom, B. R. (2008). Womens weekly rela-
tionship functioning and depressive symptoms. Personal Relationships,15, 533550.
Zhao, X., Lynch, J. G., & Chen, Q. (2010). Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and truths
about mediation analysis. Journal of Consumer Research,37(2), 197206. doi:10.1086/651257
... Neuroticism is also negatively associated with global evaluations of marriage and positively associated with negative partner interactions (Donnellan, 2004). The connection between negative affect and neuroticism have been extensively examined (Abbasi, 2016;Abbasi et al., 2018;Claxton et al., 2011;Costa & McCrae, 1992;Wang et al., 2012;McCabe, 2006). Researchers have found that neuroticism is positively connected with marital disaffection (emotional indifference) and that negative affect partially mediates this relationship (Abbasi et al., 2018). ...
... The connection between negative affect and neuroticism have been extensively examined (Abbasi, 2016;Abbasi et al., 2018;Claxton et al., 2011;Costa & McCrae, 1992;Wang et al., 2012;McCabe, 2006). Researchers have found that neuroticism is positively connected with marital disaffection (emotional indifference) and that negative affect partially mediates this relationship (Abbasi et al., 2018). ...
... Although researcher have found that neuroticism was strongly associated with gender (Abbasi et al., 2018), we found no association between neuroticism and gender. In line with previous research (Watson et al., 2000), we found that gender and marital adjustment are not related. ...
Full-text available
Marital adjustment is a crucial factor for the mental and physical health of individuals. In this study, we examined the influence of three factors on marital adjustment, that were, negative affect, neuroticism, and marital commitment. In a sample of 258 married partners (Female n = 138; Mage=35.98, SD = 10.83), we found that negative affect, neuroticism, and marital commitment cumulatively contributed 41% of variance in marital adjustment. Marital commitment contributed the most variance in marital adjustment (33%) versus negative affect and neuroticism combined (9%). The implication, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
... Moreover, we did not require our sample to report the number of children or the big five personality dimensions both of which may be pertinent reasons that could have influenced relationship satisfaction. Evidence suggests that personality is related to marital satisfaction (Abbasi, 2017) and marital disaffection (Abbasi, Rattan, Kousar, & Elsayed, 2018). Therefore, future studies can include questions that account for other underlying factors such as children, general health, financial constraints, and personality. ...
... It was due to a lack of prior psychological preparation, and they even had an excessive behavioral performance. The urban residents with high neuroticism were prone to emotional instability, self-centeredness, indifference, and Impulsivity (Irum et al., 2018). In the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, the infection raged through the city, which might create further disquiet. ...
Full-text available
Aims To explore the structural characteristics and influential factors of psychological stress of urban residents in Jiangxi province during the COVID-19 pandemic through a survey of psychological stress, personality traits, family function and life satisfaction. Methods By the convenient sampling, 1422 urban residents from Jiangxi province were assessed with Eysenck Personality Questionnaire Short Scale (EPQ-RSC), Psychological Questionnaires for Emergent Events of Public Health (PQEEPH), Family APGAR Scale (APGAR) and Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). The relation among personality traits, psychological stress, family function and life satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic was analyzed by using the canonical correlation analysis and the serial mediation model. Results (1) Among the estimated correlation coefficients, the first two pairs were significant (P< 0.001 in each) . (2) In the first pair of canonical variables, the loadings of neuroticism and neurasthenia were the higher (0.94, 0.70). (3) Neuroticism and life satisfaction mediated the relationship between family function and neurasthenia (βneuroticism= -0.174; 95%CI:-0.224, -0.134; βlife satisfaction= -0.034, 95%CI:-0.012, -0.062), respectively. In addition, serial mediation analyses indicated that the association of family function and neurasthenia is mediated by neuroticism and life satisfaction in a sequential manner (β= -0.010; 95%CI:-0.020, -0.004). Conclusions During the COVID-19 pandemic, neuroticism was closely related to psychological stress of urban residents, especially neurasthenia. In addition, the serial mediating effect of neuroticism and life satisfaction played an important role in the process of family function influencing neurasthenia. These findings contributed to a more comprehensive understanding of the influential factors for psychological stress of urban residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
... (neuroticism), may contribute to disengagement (Abbasi et al., 2018;Barry et al., 2008;Kayser & Rao, 2006;Robinson et al., 2006). However, these studies were primarily conducted with young community-based samples where relationship satisfaction was relatively high (e.g., Barry & Lawrence, 2013) or they assessed lack of love retrospectively in already separated individuals (Kayser, 1993;Kayser & Rao, 2006;Sailor, 2013). ...
... These findings are important as they might guide interventions and research in a more effective way (i.e., reducing the number of target variables due to redundancies and selecting the most robust predictors of outcomes). There is evidence to suggest that neuroticism and negative affect share important variance [46], so the burden of assessment and treatment might be reduced by selecting one of the factors only for research and treatment practices (i.e., negative affect according to the present study findings). ...
Full-text available
The prediction of postpartum depression (PPD) should be conceptualized from a biopsychosocial perspective. This study aims at exploring the longitudinal contribution of a set of biopsychosocial factors for PPD in perinatal women. A longitudinal study was conducted, assessment was made with a website and included biopsychosocial factors that were measured during pregnancy (n = 266, weeks 16-36), including age, affective ambivalence, personality characteristics, social support and depression. Depression was measured again at postpartum (n = 101, weeks 2-4). The analyses included bivariate associations and structural equation modeling (SEM). Age, affective ambivalence, neuroticism, positive, and negative affect at pregnancy were associated with concurrent depression during pregnancy (all p < 0.01). Age, affective ambivalence, positive affect, and depression at pregnancy correlated with PPD (all p < 0.05). Affective ambivalence (β = 1.97; p = 0.003) and positive (β = −0.29; p < 0.001) and negative affect (β = 0.22; p = 0.024) at pregnancy remained significant predictors of concurrent depression in the SEM, whereas only age (β = 0.27; p = 0.010) and depression (β = 0.37; p = 0.002) at pregnancy predicted PPD. Biopsychosocial factors are clearly associated with concurrent depression at pregnancy, but the stability of depression across time limits the prospective contribution of biopsychosocial factors. Depression should be screened early during pregnancy, as this is likely to persist after birth. The use of technology, as in the present investigation, might be a cost-effective option for this purpose.
... One relevant aspect is that found in several studies, where certain personality traits, such as neuroticism [69][70][71][72][73] or low self-esteem, great shyness, and depression [61,[74][75][76], are pointed out as factors promoting possible addiction to the Internet, especially to social networks. This psychological dependence affects different spheres of daily life such as work, social and interpersonal relationships, school performance, emotional and family relationships, etc. [77], and therefore has become a public health problem and requires preventive actions [29,78], especially among the student population. ...
Full-text available
Within the framework of digital sustainability, the increase in Internet consumption, and especially online social networks, offers social benefits, but is not without its drawbacks. For example, it can lead to psychological and/or psychiatric disorders in some people. Numerous researches are highlighting the similarities of these addictions with the consumption of toxic substances. University students are heavy users of the Internet and, in certain situations, addiction to online social networks can be the result of depression, harassment, and anxiety, among others, affecting their daily life, including their academic responsibilities. In recent months, an anomaly has occurred that may have contributed to intensifying this problem, namely the confinement produced by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world to a greater or lesser extent. In this cross-sectional study, with a descriptive and quantitative methodology, students from 14 Spanish universities were investigated in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to understand the effects of this situation on the problem described. The results show a high consumption of social networks during that time, with significant incidences of addiction. In parallel, the presence of comorbidity has been determined. In this scenario, it would be necessary to implement university educational programs to redirect these addictive behaviors, as well as preventative recommendations and actions to minimize negative impacts. This is a major problem that is growing, exacerbated by the global pandemic produced by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Situations of this gravity call for the development of preventive and educational measures for the responsible and sustainable use of ICT.
... Neuroticism, which is a component of the Big Five personality traits (McCrae & Costa, 1999) has been identified as one of the main psychological characteristics associated with Facebook addiction (Andreassen, 2015;LaRose, Kim & Peng, 2010;Tang et al., 2016). It has long been suggested that face-to-face interactions might be anxiety provoking for those with high levels of neuroticism due to their temperamental sensitivity to threat, fear of criticism, social isolation, shyness, ease of embarrassment, and fear of rejection (Abbasi, 2017;Abbasi, Rattan, Kousar, & Elsayed, 2017;Ehrenberg, Juckes, White, & Walsh, 2008;Malone, Pillow, & Osman, 2012;McCrae & Costa, 1997;Wolfradt & Doll, 2001;Zobel et al., 2004). People high in neuroticism use Facebook for self-presentational needs, specifically, their need to portray different facets of the self (Seidman, 2013). ...
Full-text available
Individuals high in neuroticism experience negative affect and social anxiety, therefore, they may prefer online communications where they are able to portray an idealized image of themselves to attract social support, seek validation, and enhance mood. These motivations may lead to greater social media use and addiction. In this study of Facebook users (N = 742; 474 females, 268 males) who mostly resided in the United States, we explored the association between neuroticism, Facebook addiction, and negative affect. Our mediation model showed a partial mediating effect of Facebook addiction in predicting negative affect in individuals who were high in neuroticism. In theory, individuals who use Facebook as a tool to improve their mood may actually experience more negative affect due to social overload, jealousy, and envy. Individuals high in neuroticism, who already maintain a higher negative affect than those low in neuroticism, might be particularly inclined towards increased Facebook use, which could deteriorate their mood further. Consequently, individuals and therapists should be aware of the personality traits that could lead to greater Facebook addiction and a higher negative mood. Therapists could encourage users to engage in activities, other than social media use, that can improve mood without leading to addiction.
Full-text available
Objective Extra-pair mating has potentially severe costs, which favor the evolution of mechanisms that would enable people to reduce them by detecting their partners’ infidelity. Such a mechanism is romantic jealousy, and the current research attempted to examine the interplay between romantic jealousy, personality and the probability of detecting infidelity. Method We employed quantitative research methods on a sample of 916 Greek-speaking participants. Results we found that higher scorers in romantic jealousy were more likely to detect infidelity than lower scorers. The effect was independent of one’s own infidelity, sex and age. We also found that neuroticism and openness predicted the probability to detect infidelity indirectly through jealousy. More specifically, high scorers in neuroticism experienced stronger jealousy, which in turn, was associated with increased probability to detect infidelity. On the other hand, high scorers in openness experienced lower jealousy that was associated with a decreased probability of detecting infidelity. Conclusions Our results were consistent with the hypothesis that the jealousy mechanism has evolved to enable individuals to detect infidelity.
Full-text available
This study reports the most comprehensive assessment to date of the relations that the domains and facets of Big Five and HEXACO personality have with self-reported subjective well-being (SWB: life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect) and psychological well-being (PWB: positive relations, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and personal growth). It presents a meta-analysis (n = 334,567, k = 462) of the correlations of Big Five and HEXACO personality domains with the dimensions of SWB and PWB. It provides the first meta-analysis of personality and well-being to examine (a) HEXACO personality, (b) PWB dimensions, and (c) a broad range of established Big Five measures. It also provides the first robust synthesis of facet-level correlations and incremental prediction by facets over domains in relation to SWB and PWB using 4 large data sets comprising data from prominent, long-form hierarchical personality frameworks: NEO PI-R (n = 1,673), IPIP-NEO (n = 903), HEXACO PI-R (n = 465), and Big Five Aspect Scales (n = 706). Meta-analytic results highlighted the importance of Big Five neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness. The pattern of correlations between Big Five personality and SWB was similar across personality measures (e.g., BFI, NEO, IPIP, BFAS, Adjectives). In the HEXACO model, extraversion was the strongest well-being correlate. Facet-level analyses provided a richer description of the relationship between personality and well-being, and clarified differences between the two trait frameworks. Prediction by facets was typically around 20% better than domains, and this incremental prediction was larger for some well-being dimensions than others. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
Full-text available
The present study aimed at finding the relationship between personality traits and marital adjustment of couples involved in teaching profession. The sample was comprised of (N = 30) teaching married couples, selected from the different colleges and University of Sargodha. For assessment of personality traits the Urdu version (Chisthi, 2002) of Revised NEO Personality Inventory (Costa & McCrea, 1992) and for marital adjustment the Urdu translation (Naseer, 2000) of Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976) were used. Results indicated the significant positive relationship between Extraversion, and Conscientiousness with marital adjustment; whereas relationship between personality trait Openness to experience and marital adjustment was positive but non significant. Gender difference on NEO PI-R were also found to be non significant except for the Conscientiousness facets where women score significantly higher as compared to men and one of its sub facet "order" was found to be profoundly determinant in making that significant difference.
Full-text available
Two partners tying a marital knot cannot possibly fathom the complexity of the relationship that lies ahead. Once married, the success or failure of marriage is determined by a myriad of factors. Each partner is a unique agglomeration of stable personal dispositions that influence marital relationships. During courtship, partners typically idealize their relationship and maintain a positive illusion about each other. The behaviors and traits that threaten the developing relationship are ignored. However, in the early marriage years, the process of marital disillusionment begins and the personal dispositions that were dismissed earlier become increasingly conspicuous and hard to ignore. Eventually, partners come to grips with reality and experience a decline in love. Acknowledging that personal dispositions are ingrained in the genetics and are reinforced by the early experiences and attachment bonds, this paper reviews the role of personal dispositions on marital outcomes and how negative outcomes can be curbed by therapeutic interventions. In this context, the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT; an experiential acceptance-based behavior therapy) that targets experiential avoidance and increases psychological flexibility is discussed.
Full-text available
How can a couple ‘fall in love’ and then subsequently ‘stumble out of love’? For centuries, this question has perplexed partners, researchers, and therapists alike. Unlike falling out of love, which may be a long-term meditated gradual decline in love, falling in love may occur without much deliberation like the famous ‘love at first sight’. During a developing love relationship, couples are more susceptible to ignoring a myriad of factors that would eventually influence their relationship. Once the relationship establishes, these ignored personal and general factors become increasingly conspicuous. When facing relationship difficulties, the presence or absence of mutual love and intimacy steer the couple’s relationship towards continuity or termination. Emotional indifference (opposite of love) diminishes love and care; marital disaffection and romantic disengagement are used synonymously to represent emotional indifference in couples. Marital disaffection is one of the central concerns of couples entering therapy. Many couples enter therapy with divergent goals that are polar opposites. Therefore, treatment of polarized or different agenda couples is challenging because disaffected spouses may be seeking counseling to break the bond at a safe venue while their partners may still be obliviously hoping for the rebirth of their lost love. This paper reviews marital disaffection/romantic disengagement and discusses counseling options for polarized couples.
Full-text available
The influence of neuroticism on stress perception and its associated negative affect is explored in a quasi-experimental repeated measure study. The study involves manipulating the stress perception and affect of high N group (n = 24) and low N group ( n = 28) three times; first, through exposure to neutral stimuli; second, through exposure to a laboratory stressor; third, through exposure to positive stimuli. The results reveal that after exposure to neutral stimuli, there is a significant difference in the baseline Perceived Stress Scores (PSS) ( p = .005) and Negative Affect (NA) scores ( p = .001) of the two groups. During the stress task, however, both groups show a non-significant difference in the PSS ( p = .200) and NA scores ( p = .367). After exposure to positive stimuli, there is a significant difference in the PSS scores ( p = .001), but a non-significant difference in the NA scores ( p = .661) of the two groups. When compared across three conditions, the high N group report significantly higher perceived stress ( p = .002), but not significantly higher negative affect ( p = .123) than the low N group. Finally for both PSS and NA scores, there is no interaction between neuroticism and any of the three treatment conditions ( p = .176; p = .338, respectively). This study shows that the high N group may be at risk for health disparities due to maintaining a chronic higher baseline stress perception and negative affect state under neutral conditions, than the low N group. Implications of the study are discussed.
The Marital Disaffection Scale was administered, along with measures of positive feelings towards spouse, problem-drinking behavior of spouse, workaholic behavior of spouse, and marital status, to 323 female members of the American Counseling Association. Scores on the Marital Disaffection Scale showed significant inverse correlations (r = –.94) with positive feelings towards spouse and (rpb = –.63) with marital status. Scores on the Marital Disaffection Scale showed significant positive relationships (r = .36) with spouse's problem drinking behavior and (r = .48) with workaholic behavior of spouse. The results support the use of the Marital Disaffection Scale as a measure of emotional estrangement in marriage.
The “big five” taxonomy, also called the five factor model, is a framework for personality that is ubiquitous in the literature of psychology. This organization is composed of five personality domains, Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), Conscientiousness (C), Openness to Experience (O), and Agreeableness (A). The accepted, but largely unexamined, assumption is that these personality domains are traits with dimensional latent structures. We carried out taxometric analyses on the five core domain because there have been no comprehensive latent structural analyses of all five and because the practice of discretizing continuous “big five” data is not uncommon. Data were from three large (Ns = 857, 1280, and 9935) undergraduate and community samples that competed one of three different measures of the “big five” (BFI, NEO PI-R, or Big Five Factor Inventory). Generally, results supported dimensional latent structures for each of the five domains and were largely convergent across measures and samples. We discuss the importance of empirically validating the underlying structure of these personality traits and the implications and importance that our findings have for personality and psychopathology.
A broad range of factors impacts the satisfaction that people experience in committed and marital relationships. The present paper evaluates the impact of these factors. First, I consider changes in the research focus in the last 50 years, changes driven partly by the methodologies employed to evaluate marital satisfaction and partly by the factors seen as constituting a satisfying relationship. Next, I evaluate recent research to identify the impact of individual (e.g., work, health, power, roles) and interpersonal (e.g., violence, communication) factors at different stages of both the relationship cycle and life cycle. This research makes clear that relationship satisfaction is determined by a myriad of factors and that the relative importance of these factors likely varies among couples. Finally, I propose suggestions for future research in this area, including the need to focus on the function of both positive and negative variables related to marital satisfaction.
This book is a revision and updating of the 1996 book titled Emotionally Focused Marital Theory. It is intended to serve as the basic therapeutic manual for Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT). As in the first edition, there is also one chapter on Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT).