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Keywords:

  • marital satisfaction;
  • partner appraisal;
  • depression;
  • self-esteem

This study examined whether people are more maritally satisfied when the valence of their partner's view of them is congruent with the valence of their self-view. In doing so, competing hypotheses derived from self-verification theory and self-esteem enhancement theory were examined. Married couples, recruited from the community and mental health facilities, completed measures of marital satisfaction, self-esteem, depression, and rated their spouse on a wide array of personality traits, both depressionrelated and depressionneutral. Regardless of self-esteem and depression level, and across trait categories, targets were more maritally satisfied when their partners viewed them positively and less satisfied when their partners viewed them negatively. Thus, findings were inconsistent with self-verification theory and consistent with a self-esteem enhancement model.