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Predicting Marital Satisfaction From Self, Partner, and Couple Characteristics: Is It Me, You, or Us?


  • We thank and Horizontal Survey for their collaboration on the China Marital Assessment Project and all staff for their help with the data collection. We are also grateful to Fanny Cheung and colleagues for sharing their measures and to Nora Noel and James Johnson for their helpful comments.

should be sent to Shanhong Luo, Department of Psychology, Social Behavioral Science Building, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC, 28403. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Past research on the link between personal characteristics and marital satisfaction has taken either an individual or a dyadic approach. The individual approach examines how self and/or partner characteristics are associated with satisfaction, whereas the dyadic approach focuses on couple characteristics such as couple similarity. The current research was designed to integrate both approaches. A modified Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (Kashy & Kenny, 2000) was proposed to test simultaneously the contributions of self characteristics, partner characteristics, and two types of couple similarity (level similarity measured by the absolute difference score and shape similarity measured by the profile correlation) in predicting husbands' and wives' marital satisfaction. This model was tested by structural equation modeling in two large, nationally representative, urban samples (N=536 and 537 couples) from China. The results were largely replicated across four personality domains and two value domains, suggesting that all predictors tended to make independent contributions to satisfaction except the absolute difference score.