This study examined how sensitive support provision and receipt were related to marital outcomes in a sample of 57 happily married, middle-class couples from the Midwestern U.S. To assess how observed supportive behaviors may be differentially associated with self-reported support satisfaction, marital love, and marital conflict for men and women, we utilized a series of Actor Partner Interdependence Models (APIM). This dyadic approach revealed significant gender differences regarding how the supportive role enacted (i.e., provider versus recipient) contributed considerably to marital outcomes. Specifically, husbands’ sensitive support provision significantly predicted both spouses’ support satisfaction. Additionally, husbands’ sensitive support provision was significantly associated with wives’ marital love. Wives’ reported conflict was predicted by the combination of both providing and receiving sensitive support. For husbands’ outcomes, husbands’ own sensitive support provision was most critically associated with their reporting greater love and less conflict. These findings reveal notable gender differences as men’s ability to provide sensitive support was critical not only to their wives’ marital outcomes, but to their own as well. Our results build upon and extend the literature implicating the importance of examining gender differences in supportive interactions in marriage. Moreover, our findings suggest that simultaneous consideration of spousal support receipt and provision is critical when seeking to understand how support is related to marital outcomes for men and women.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 6, 2013
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