Predictors of Intimacy in Couples' Discussions of Relationship Injuries: An Observational Study

Alexandra E. Mitchell, Angela M. Castellani, Rachael L. Herrington, Jana I. Joseph, Brian Doss, Douglas K. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


The interpersonal process model of intimacy (H. T. Reis & P. Shaver, 1988) proposes that self-disclosure and empathic responding form the basis of intimate interactions. This study examined this model in 102 community couples who completed intimacy measures following videotaped discussions about relationship injuries occurring both within and outside the relationship. Observational assessments of self-disclosure and empathic responding, as well as their respective components, were related to self-reported ratings of post-interaction intimacy. Men's own disclosure and empathic responding predicted their feelings of intimacy, whereas women's intimacy was predicted by their partner's disclosure and empathic responding. Self-disclosure and empathic responding appear to be important behavioral determinants of intimate feelings, but the manner in which they influence intimacy differs according to gender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • couples
  • empathy
  • intimacy
  • observational assessment
  • self-disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

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