Degree Date

5-2016

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Given the normative decline in marital satisfaction over time, there exists a need for efficient and effective preventive interventions. This study built on recent research by Finkel, Slotter, Luchies, Walton, and Gross (2013) that examined the efficacy of a lowintensity online intervention for married couples. Requiring fewer than 30 minutes of participants’ time over the course of a year, the Finkel et al. intervention utilized perspective-taking exercises to prevent the normative decline in marital satisfaction. The current study serves as a replication and extension of this work, with the goal of further reducing time required by participants. Specifically, we aimed to determine whether the effects of the intervention could be observed after condensing it from a period of a year to just over three months. In addition, we added a third condition to those included in the Finkel et al. study, such that participants were assigned to the neutral third-party (n=37), partner perspective (n=35), or control (n=34) condition. Results indicate no reliably beneficial effects of this short-term intervention. This failure to replicate the findings of Finkel et al. points toward the importance of time in cultivating perspective-taking and other empathic abilities in romantic relationships.

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