Summary of "Personality and Temperament Correlates of Marital
Participants in the study were 166 married couples, with ages ranging from
20-85 years. All participants were administered a new and comprehensive
marital satisfaction scale plus Mehrabian's Pleasantness-Arousability-Dominance
temperament scales. Findings showed that, in general, individuals with more
pleasant and more dominant temperaments tended to be happier in their
marriages. Additionally, those who had mates with more pleasant temperaments,
were happier in their marriages. In short, pleasantness of temperament (which
is a very general measure of psychological adjustment vs. maladjustment) tended
to be a key predictor of satisfaction in marriage, showing that better adjusted
persons, and those with better adjusted mates, were more satisfied in
marriage. Specific findings for the wives also showed that unpleasant and
submissive (i.e., depressive) characteristics of the wives were highly
detrimental to marital satisfaction. Temperament accounted for (or explained)
substantially more variance (30% - 34%) in marital satisfaction than effect
sizes that previously have been reported in the personality/marital
Historically, there has been some interest in study of similarity of mates in
relation to marital satisfaction. Our findings showed that, although
inter-mate temperament similarity on Pleasantness and Dominance (but not on
Arousability) correlated positively with marital satisfaction, similarity was a
weak and misleading predictor of satisfaction. Similarity, for instance, would
suggest that two maladjusted mates have a better chance at marriage than an
adjusted plus a maladjusted couple. Findings on individual temperament
characteristics, noted above, show that this inference is incorrect and,
generally, findings based on individual temperament scores, treated as separate
variables, provide the most accurate predictions of marital satisfaction.
Finally, weak results showed that individuals selected mates with temperaments
similar to their own.
The Full-Length Article
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- Blum, J.S., & Mehrabian, A. (1999). Personality and temperament correlates of marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality, 67, 93-125.
Copyright© 1995-2011 by Albert Mehrabian