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Men's Involvement in the Emotional Domain of Marriage: The Influence of Family Expressiveness, Emotional Intelligence, and Gender Role Conflict.

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Personal Author: 
Wall, Sterling Kendall.
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Marital friendship is identified as the foundation for a sound marital house. Gender differences between husbands' and wives' involvement in the emotional domain of marriage are discussed. Research linking mens' involvement in the emotional domain to marital quality highlights the need to identify the characteristics of those men who are likely to be involved in the emotional domain and the construction of marital friendship. Only men's characteristics are used for the analysis in this study. Based on existing theory and research, it is proposed that Family Expressiveness in husbands' family of origin, Emotional Intelligence, and Restrictive Emotionality will each be related to husbands' and wives' perceptions of Marital Friendship. It is also expected that family expressiveness will be related to husbands' levels of emotional intelligence and restrictive emotionality, and that emotional intelligence will also be related to restrictive emotionality. Correlational analysis revealed positive associations between husbands' reports of positive forms of family expressiveness, emotional intelligence, and husbands' and wives' perceptions of marital friendship. Inverse correlations were found between husbands restrictive emotionality and both spouse's marital friendship reports. A small inverse correlation was also found between negative family expressiveness and marital friendship, but only for husbands. Path analysis revealed significant paths leading from positive family expressiveness to both emotional intelligence and restrictive emotionality, and from these two variables to husbands' and wives' marital friendship reports. A significant path also existed from emotional intelligence to restrictive emotionality. The largest path was found between restrictive emotionality and marital friendship. Together, the results indicate that the foundation of husbands' involvement in building a marital friendship with their wives is found in their early socialization experiences in the family of origin. Those from families where the expression of emotion is modeled and encouraged are more likely to be emotionally intelligent themselves. This competence in the emotional domain will in turn lead to confidence, instead of emotional restriction, when confronted with emotionally laden situations. (Author abstract)

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