Recent studies looking to link physical exercise with beneficial couple outcomes have had mixed results, showing benefits for females but not males in some instances, and even negative effects for males in one instance. However, these studies used self-report data for exercise which may suffer from reporting errors. This study analyzed how daily exercise, measured by participants wearing accelerometers, impacts marital satisfaction, positive behaviors, and negative behaviors in a clinical population. The data was analyzed using multilevel models to determine how time spent exercising impacted individuals and their partners in terms of relationship outcomes. Results indicated small but significant relationships between female exercise and decreases in both marital satisfaction and positive behaviors for females, as well as increases in marital satisfaction for males. Increases in male exercise were also associated with decreases in marital satisfaction and positive behaviors for females. Further research is recommended to elucidate the findings that exercise is beneficial for some partners, but not others. Clinicians are advised to continue working with couples to improve marital satisfaction through emotional regulation techniques and widening the window of tolerance.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Nelson, Emily J., "Exercise as a Predictor of Change in Self-Reported Marital Satisfaction and Behaviors of Couples in Therapy" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 9702.
marital satisfaction, positive relationship behaviors, negative relationship behaviors, Window of Tolerance, emotion regulation, exercise