This study was designed to analyze couples’ complaint episodes. Rather than focusing on single act‐to‐act sequences, this analysis focused on lengthier interactions of four to approximately 70 turns. This microanalysis revealed that during conflict couples typically enact one of six complaint episodes: passed (ignoring the complaint), refocused (changing the focus of the complaint), mitigated (downgrading the severity of the complaint), responsive (validating the partner's complaint), unresponsive (denying the validity of the partner's complaint), or escalated (expanding the topic and hostility level of the complaint interaction). It was also determined that satisfied couples were three times more likely to engage in passed, refocused, mitigated and responsive episodes while dissatisfied and mixed couples were twice as likely to engage in unresponsive or escalated episodes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics