Attributions for spousal behavior in relation to criticism and perceived criticism.

Research paper by Kristina M KM Peterson, David A DA Smith

Indexed on: 01 Nov '11Published on: 01 Nov '11Published in: Behavior Therapy


This study examined relations between spousal attributions and criticism in a sample of 118 married couples. Spouses rated general perceived criticism (PC) and their own expressed criticism as well as interaction-specific PC from a videotaped discussion. Independent judges also coded criticism from the discussion. Spouses' self-reported causal and responsibility attributions for hypothetical spousal negative behavior were related to all types of criticism. Attributions were also associated with unique variance in spouses' reports of general PC and criticism, even after controlling either for judges' or partners' ratings of criticism and marital adjustment. General PC and expressed criticism appear to reflect more than either the amount of criticism present or feelings about the marriage; rather, general PC and expressed criticism are uniquely associated with the cause and responsibility ascribed to partners' behavior.