Interpersonal mediators in the intergenerational transmission of marital dysfunction

Lisa B. Story, Benjamin R. Karney, Erika Lawrence, Thomas K. Bradbury*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Intergenerational transmission of marital functioning was examined in a sample of 60 newlywed couples by collecting (a) retrospective reports of conflict and divorce in spouses' families of origin, (b) data on demographic variables and interactional processes likely to increase risk for adverse marital outcomes, and (c) couples' actual 4-year marital outcomes. The association between wives' parental divorce and marital outcome was mediated by their verbal and physical aggression. The association between negativity in husbands' family of origin and marital outcome was mediated by dyadic expressions of negative affect. Demographic variables did not operate as mediators. Negative interpersonal processes appear to be a vehicle by which experiences in the family of origin are carried forward into the next generation of relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-529
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Aggression
  • Conflict
  • Divorce
  • Intergenerational
  • Longitudinal
  • Marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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