SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

This article examines the relations between emotional expression, conflict over expression, and emotional control and psychological and physical distress. Fifty married couples completed two mail-in surveys containing the Emotional Expressiveness Questionnaire (EEQ), the Ambivalence Over Emotional Expression Questionnaire (AEQ), and the Emotional Control Questionnaire (ECQ), as well as measures of psychological and physical well-being. They also made expressiveness and well-being ratings of their spouses. AEQ and ECQ scores were significantly positively correlated with measures of psychological distress and questionnaire measures of physical discomfort. In addition, AEQ scores for items dealing explicitly with anger predicted visits to health-care provider for illness. EEQ scores did not predict either psychological distress or physical symptoms. AEQ scores were also positively correlated with spouse's symptoms and alcohol use. Wives' expressiveness ratings for their husbands were negatively correlated with a number of indices of psychological distress, while husbands' ratings of wives' expressiveness were positively correlated with measures of distress. Generally, expressiveness, inhibition, and conflict over expression in one spouse did not consistently predict well-being of the other. Implications of these findings for future research in the area of emotion and illness as well as in relationship satisfaction are discussed.