Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jennifer Waltz

Committee Co-chair

Lucian Gideon Conway

Commitee Members

Paul Silverman, Daniel Denis, Mary Groom Hall


Emotion Regulation, Expression, Romantic Relationships


University of Montana


Romantic relationships are extremely important in people's physical and mental well being. One of the important determinants of the quality of romantic relationships is the expression and regulation of emotions. This study hypothesized that 1) expression of positive emotions is good for any relationship, 2) expression of negative emotions is good for only communal relationships, 3) expression of positive emotions is necessary alongside of negative ones to maintain a communal relationship, 4) in case negative emotions are expressed, providing explanations would help maintain the relationship, 5) suppression of emotions does not benefit communal relationship, and 6) expression of emotions correlates with a) secure attachment, b) partner's receptiveness to expression, and c) communal approach to relationship. The interactions predicted in this study were not found to be significant. The key study findings follow: 1) expression of positive and negative emotions, 2) communal orientation, 3) explanation of negative affect, 4) and general emotional expressivity correlate with higher relationship satisfaction. 5) Emotional suppression, 6) anxious attachment, and 7) higher year in school were related to lower satisfaction. Other findings suggested that 1) communal approach, 2) partner's receptiveness, and 3) female gender were related to more emotional expressivity. 4) Communal orientation was related to more and 5) avoidant attachment was related to less positive expression. 6) Secure attachment was related to less emotional suppression. Lastly, it was found that 1) secure attachment correlated with more partner's receptiveness. 2) Anxious attachment accompanied less explanations for negative affect., and, 3) older participants had more avoidant attachments. The major limitation of this study was that only one member the couple was assessed and the impact of the respondent's style and behavior on the partner as well as the dyadic factors contributing to the relationship were largely unknown.



© Copyright 2007 Makon Fardis