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American Psychological Association

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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

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131 heterosexual student couples, aged 17–32 yrs, 30 of whom were married or engaged answered questions concerning themselves and their relationships. It was predicted that individual differences in private self-consciousness would be positively related to relationship satisfaction because of the greater self-disclosure resulting from that heightened self-attention. It was further predicted that individual differences in perspective taking would foster relationship satisfaction, independent of any influence of self-disclosure. Both expectations were confirmed. Scores on the private self-consciousness scale were predictive of reported self-disclosure, and self-disclosure was predictive of satisfaction in the relationship. Once the influence of self-disclosure was removed, no effect of self-consciousness on satisfaction remained. In contrast, after disclosure was controlled, perspective-taking scores were significantly related to satisfaction and were in fact unrelated to disclosure at all. Findings indicate that 2 personality characteristics having to do with habitual attention to behavioral tendencies, emotions, and motivations significantly enhance the quality of close heterosexual relationships in different ways.


Accepted version. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 48, No. 6, (June 1985): 1584-1594. DOI. © 1985 American Psychological Association. Used with permission.

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