Although trait anxiety and its aliases (negative affectivity, neuroticism) have frequently been found to be associated with marital dissatisfaction, few efforts have been made to identify the processes through which trait anxiety exerts its influence. This study reports findings from a 13-year, 4-phase longitudinal study in which trait anxiety, measured when spouses were newlyweds, consistently predicted marital negativity which, in turn, was associated with partner's marital dissatisfaction. Some support was also found for effects of trait anxiety on partner's marital satisfaction, independent of marital negativity, as well as for the idea that trait anxiety is directly related to spouses' own marital satisfaction. Trait anxiety did not distinguish couples who divorced from those who remained married, and it generally did not predict declines in marital satisfaction. The disagreeable impact of trait anxiety on marriage was evident at the outset of marriage and was stable over time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science