Domains of Vulnerable Behavior: The Multifactorial Structure and Influence of Intimate Safety
Administered during a marital enrichment seminar series, the self-report Intimate Safety Questionnaire (ISQ) was utilized to assess participants’ experience in 28 vulnerable couple behaviors, as a measure of marital intimacy from a behavioral perspective. Supporting a multifactorial theory of intimacy, four subscales of intimacy were developed in the first sample (N = 276 participants) and replicated and validated in a second sample ( N = 86 couples). Subscales illuminated gender differences in intimacy that were not reflected in total scores, as wives demonstrated higher comfort being vulnerable with both emotions and disagreement, but husbands demonstrated higher comfort being vulnerable with sex. No gender differences were found for comfort being vulnerable in public or total intimacy scores. Findings of actor partner interdependence models (APIM) indicated both significant actor and partner effects of both overall intimacy and subscales on couple satisfaction. However, husbands demonstrated a couple-oriented pattern for all measures of intimacy, suggesting that their wives’ intimacy influenced their relationship satisfaction as much as husbands’ own intimacy did, whereas wives demonstrated this couple-oriented pattern only for behaviors involving disagreement. Contributions to theoretical understandings of marital intimacy and clinical applications of the ISQ and the four subscales are discussed.
Clements, Mari L.
Intimacy, Interpersonal relations
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