Experiential Avoidance, Dyadic Interaction and Relationship Quality in the Lives of Veterans and Their Partners

Osnat Zamir, Abigail Gewirtz, Madelyn Labella, David S. DeGarmo, James Snyder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Scopus citations


    This study assessed the mediating pathways of observed couple communication on the dyadic associations between experiential avoidance (EA) and relationship quality. A sample of 228 military couples following combat deployment participated in a conflict discussion and completed self-report measures to assess EA and relationship quality. Results of an actor–partner interdependence model using structural equation modeling indicated that for both dyad members greater EA was associated with their own lower relationship quality. Higher EA in men was associated with more observed negative communication, as well as lower relationship quality in their female partners. Positive couple communication was associated with higher relationship quality in men and in women. Overall, EA demonstrated associations with relationship quality above and beyond couple communication skills. This study points to the importance of EA for the marital system and suggests that interventions targeting EA and positive couple communication skills may strengthen military marital relationships following deployment to war.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1191-1212
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Family Issues
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded in part by a grant from NIDA’s prevention branch to the second author (R01DA 030114).

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


    • APIM
    • couple interaction
    • experiential avoidance
    • military couples


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