A Multifaceted and Dyadic Examination of Intimate Relationship Quality during Pregnancy: Implications for Global Relationship Satisfaction

Erin L. Ramsdell, Molly Franz, Rebecca L. Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Understanding how couples navigate and negotiate the challenges and demands of pregnancy has important implications for family health. The aim of this study was to apply a multidimensional model of intimate relationship quality in a sample of 154 pregnant, cohabitating couples, to investigate the association between a range of intimate relationship processes (i.e., emotional intimacy, conflict management, sexual quality, received respect and acceptance, and received support) and the global relationship satisfaction of each partner. Semistructured clinical interviews were administered to each partner assessing multiple qualities of the relationship, and participants completed home surveys of global relationship satisfaction each day for 14 days. Results demonstrated that multiple dimensions of the intimate relationship were associated with greater relationship satisfaction. Some processes (e.g., degree of emotional intimacy and closeness, conflict management) had larger effects on relationship satisfaction than others (e.g., quality of the sexual relationship). Furthermore, some processes were more important for maternal than paternal satisfaction (e.g., emotional intimacy, support, respect). Finally, results varied, to some degree, as a function of whether parents were transitioning to parenthood for the first time. We discuss the implications of adopting a multidimensional approach to studying the specific relationship processes associated with global relationship satisfaction and present implications for clinicians working with couples navigating the transition into parenthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamily Process
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Conflict
  • Couples
  • Intimacy
  • Pregnancy
  • Relationship Quality
  • Relationship Satisfaction
  • Respect
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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