The content of relational uncertainty within marriage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two studies were conducted to examine relational uncertainty within marriage. Study 1 gathered open-ended data from 85 individuals to identify issues spouses are unsure about. Findings indicated 12 content areas, including uncertainty about children, communication, career issues, finances, health, commitment, extended family, sex, retirement, religious beliefs, leisure time, and household chores (RQ1). Only the commitment theme paralleled the doubts salient in dating relationships (RQ2). Study 2 surveyed 125 couples to develop self-report measures of the themes. Hierarchical linear modeling results revealed negative associations between relational uncertainty and marital quality (RQ3, RQ5). The self source (RQ4) and the communication and sex themes (RQ6) were the strongest predictors of marital quality. These findings illuminate the nuances of relational uncertainty within marriage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-495
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Marital quality
  • Marriage
  • Relational uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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