Examining the Link Between Exercise and Marital Arguments in Clinical Couples


exercise, marriage, daily diary, relationships


Couples experiencing clinical levels of distress likely experience marital arguments. Exercise may attenuate such conflict. The current study examined daily links between exercise and the number and intensity of marital arguments, relationship satisfaction, stress levels, and argument topics. Participants included 36 heterosexual couples in a treatment-as-usual setting who completed the Daily Diary of Events in Couple Therapy. Results indicated a positive relationship between female hours of exercise and argument intensity for both partners. The number of hours males exercise was not significantly related to any variables; however, male daily stress was significantly related to female report of argument intensity. This suggests that although exercise has empirically supported benefits for individuals, clinical couples may also experience increased argument intensity in connection with exercise.

Original Publication Citation

Johnson, L.N., Selland, B., Mennenga, K.D., Oka, M. Tambling, R., Anderson, S.R., & Miller, R.B. (published online 7/30/17). Examining the link between exercise and marital arguments in clinical couples. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice. DOI: 10.1037/cfp0000085.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor