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Observer, Self-, and Partner Reports of Hostile Behaviors in Romantic Relationships


Institute for Social and Behavioral Research, Iowa State University, 2625 N. Loop Drive, Suite 500, Ames, IA 50010-8296 (


The present study examines how different observers of romantic relationships differ in their reports of hostility. Using confirmatory factor analysis with structured means, the results from 236 young adults and their romantic partners indicated that (a) the correlations among targets’ self-reports, partners’ reports, and observers’ reports of targets’ behaviors were moderate; (b) targets’ self-reports of their own level of hostility were lower than their partners’ reports of them; (c) young couples who were living together demonstrated a higher level of hostility than dating couples; and (d) women showed a higher level of hostility toward their partners than did men.