Locus of control, interpersonal trust, and assertive behavior among newlyweds

William J. Doherty, Robert G. Ryder

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33 Scopus citations


This study related 2 cognitive personality characteristics--locus of control and interpersonal trust--to assertive behavior in a sample of recently married couples. For 86 childless couples who had been in their 1st marriages for less than 1 yr, assertive behavior was measured by the Inventory of Marital Conflicts, an observational procedure in which couples resolve disagreements about hypothetical marital problems. Hypotheses were formulated in terms of individual locus of control (Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale) as well as 2 combinations of locus of control and interpersonal trust (Rotter's Interpersonal Trust Scale): internal-low trust and external-high trust. Results show that internal husbands were more assertive than external husbands in the marriage conflict situation, that external-high trust husbands were least assertive, and that internal-low trust wives were highly assertive. Findings are interpreted in light of previous locus-of-control and trust research, and in terms of unconventional marital role behavior. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2212-2220
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1979


  • interpersonal trust, assertive behavior, newlyweds
  • locus of control &


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