The literature on relationship maintenance has focused primarily on the beneficial outcomes of maintenance, and, as a result, little is known about relational processes that may interfere with reports of partners' maintenance. The authors examine how daily conflict influences individuals' reports of their partners' maintenance, and how a constructive communication style buffers this influence by reducing negative emotion on conflict days. In a daily diary study of 98 same-sex couples in romantic relationships, they found that the negative association between conflict and reports of a partner's relationship maintenance was mediated by negative emotion. That is, there was an indirect effect by which daily conflict was associated with higher levels of daily negative emotion, which was associated with reports of lower levels of partners' relationship maintenance. This indirect effect was moderated by couples' overall level of constructive communication such that higher levels diminished the degree to which couples experienced negative emotion on days with episodes of relational conflict. The authors discuss results in the context of interpersonal theory and provide implications for clinicians and practitioners.
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