Materias Investigacion::Ciencias de la Salud::Psiquiatría y psicología
Infidelity has a significant psychological impact on marriages and families. Marriages with an infidelity experience show a great number of premarital communication problems such as low rates of positive interaction and high rates of invalidation and negative interaction (1).
To analyse communicative resources of spouses belonging to marriages with at least one unfaithfulness episode.
To compare marital communication depending on the sex of the unfaithful spouse.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
We analized a sample of married couples in which at least one of the partners had had an extramarital relationship and who had turned to the Diagnosis and Family Therapy Unit (UDITEF) during the last five years presenting marital dysfunction related to an extramarital episode. Marital communication was studied through the observational method Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System (RMICS), analysing a 15-minute conversation between partners, which was coded by two reliable independent raters.
We analysed a sample of 39 married couples. No statistically meaningful differences were found with the RMICS between unfaithful husbands and faithful wives. However, when the wife was the unfaithful partner, we observed statistically meaningful differences in communication in the codes Hostility (p<0.05) and Problem Discussion (p<0.01) as compared to their faithful husbands. Furthermore, statistically meaningful differences were found in the use of the code Humor (p<0.01) when comparing unfaithful husbands to unfaithful wives. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS (v.15) program.
The data obtained in our study show that marital and family communication varies depending on the sex of the unfaithful partner, mainly in the way they discuss and cope with problems, although more studies should be carried out with larger samples in order to confirm the results. We also appreciate that marriages in which the husband has been unfaithful, have a better marital communication than do marriages with an unfaithful woman. Finally, unfaithful women use a communication pattern more hostile than their husbands.
(1) Allen, E.S. The multidimensional and development nature of infidelity: Practical applications. Journal of clinical psychology, 2005; 61; 11; 1371-1400.
(2) Heyman E. R. & Vivian, D. Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System. Manual. Ver. 1.7, July, 2000. State University of New York at Stony Brook.