Discrepancies in adolescent romantic couples' and observers' perceptions of couple interaction and their relationship to depressive symptoms

Deborah P. Welsh, Renee V. Galliher, Myra C. Kawaguchi, Sherry S. Rostosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We examined discrepancies in adolescent romantic couple members' and observers' perceptions of couples' conversations in order to further understand adolescents' romantic interactions and their association with adolescents' depressive symptoms. We used a video-recall procedure to assess 61 adolescent romantic couples' perceptions of their videotaped conversations with each other. Our results suggest that although couple members and outside observers agreed that adolescent romantic couples' conversations were generally harmonious, adolescent dating partners and observers perceived couples' communications in systematically different ways and perceived inequalities in their interactions. Perceptions of discrepancies in power were more salient in females' perceptions. Both males and females perceived themselves more positively than their partners. Finally, discrepancies in couple members' perceptions of their conversations were somewhat associated with their mental health. Boys who viewed themselves more favorably than their girlfriends viewed them exhibited fewer depressive symptoms. Girls who perceived fewer inequalities between themselves and their boyfriends showed fewer depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-666
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Portions of this manuscript were presented at the Biennial Meeting for the Society for Research on Child Development in Washington, D.C. This research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health's B/START Program, a University of Tennessee Professional Development Award, and the Sexuality Fellowship Program of the Social Science Research Council.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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