Marital virtues and their relationship to individual functioning, communication, and relationship adjustment

Amanda Veldorale-Brogan, Kay Bradford, Ann Vail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Extant research has documented both individual well-being and couple communication as important predictors of marital adjustment. In the recent years, researchers have looked beyond problem-based predictors, shifting the focus from pathology and communication to include positive actions and ways of being. This study used Fowers' [(2005) Virtue and psychology: Pursuing excellence in ordinary practices. Washington, DC: APA Press] framework of virtue ethics to test additional potentially important linkages. This framework posits that characteristics, such as compassion and generosity, which are foundational to relationship adjustment. This study examined the direct and indirect links among individual functioning, marital virtues, communication, and marital adjustment. Data were collected from a sample of 422 married and cohabitating individuals using a self-report survey. Individual well-being significantly and consistently predicted virtues, communication, and relationship functioning. Marital virtues and communication were found to mediate the relationship between individual well-being and relationship adjustment. In addition, communication was found to mediate the relationship between marital virtues and relationship adjustment. Findings provide support for the notion that character strengths - enacted as marital virtues - influence communication and relationship adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Communication
  • Generosity
  • Individual adjustment
  • Marital virtues
  • Other-centeredness
  • Relationship adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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