In SAGE’s newest edition of the Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Stephania Balzarotti (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Italy) discusses the consequences associated with frequently holding back, or suppressing, communication of emotions within marriage.
The work, carried out with Patrizia Velotti (University Genoa, Italy), Semira Tagliabue (Catholic University), Giulio Zavattini (University of Rome, Italy), and Tammy English and James Gross (both of Stanford University), tracked 299 newlywed couples for two years, once in the first 6 months of their marriages and then again about 18 months later. The couple members independently provided information about how often they withhold expressing their emotions from their partners and indicated how satisfied they were in their marriage.
The team found marital quality decreased over the study period to the extent that husbands suppressed their emotions during that time. Interestingly, the degree to which couple members ‘matched’ on their level of emotional suppression also predicted change in marital quality over time – but perhaps not in ways you would think.
Listen to the podcast to find out how….
Velotti, P., Balzarotti, S., Tagliabue, S., English, T., Zavattini, G. C., & Gross, J. J. (in press) Emotional suppression in early marriage: Actor, partner, and similarity effects on marital quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.