Externalizing Psychopathology and Marital Adjustment in Long-Term Marriages: Results From a Large Combined Sample of Married Couples

Mikhila N. Humbad, M. Brent Donnellan, William G. Iacono, S. Alexandra Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study evaluated the associations between externalizing psychopathology and marital adjustment in a combined sample of 1,805 married couples. We further considered the role of personality in these associations, as personality has been found to predict both the development of externalizing psychopathology as well as marital distress and instability. Diagnostic interviews assessed conduct disorder, adult symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, and alcohol dependence. Personality was assessed using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. The Dyadic Adjustment Scale was used to measure marital adjustment. Results indicate that more externalizing psychopathology, greater negative emotionality, and lower communal positive emotionality were associated with reduced marital adjustment in both individuals and their spouses. Low constraint was associated with reduced marital adjustment for individuals but not for their spouses. Multivariate analyses indicated externalizing psychopathology continued to predict marital adjustment even when accounting for overlap with personality. These results highlight the importance of examining the presence of externalizing psychopathology and the personality attributes of both members of a dyad when considering psychological predictors of marital adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-162
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Volume119
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2010

Keywords

  • externalizing
  • marital adjustment
  • personality
  • psychopathology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Externalizing Psychopathology and Marital Adjustment in Long-Term Marriages: Results From a Large Combined Sample of Married Couples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this