Responsiveness and control are two central dimensions underlying communication in marital and parental dynamics. This study offers an integrative framework to explore communication of responsiveness and control across marital and parental contexts to understand the interdependence that exists within family systems. In addition, it explores potential discrepancies between a member's general perceptions of his or her communication of responsiveness and control and their observed interactional characteristics, and their implications for marital satisfaction. Self-report and observational data were analyzed from 51 heterosexual couples and their 3–6 year-old child. Responsiveness was correlated across marital and parental subsystems, but control was not. Individuals’ perceptions of their marital communication were consistent with observing coders’ ratings, but perceptions of parental communication were inconsistent with the ratings of outside observers. Finally, marital satisfaction was associated with discrepancy between perceived and observed marital communication. The findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical, operational, and practical implications.
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- Family communication
- family systems
- marital communication
- parental communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)