Purdue University Graduate School
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Comfort Communicating Constructs on Relationship and Sexual Satisfaction

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posted on 2020-05-06, 01:18 authored by Kristina N FairbanksKristina N Fairbanks

Research shows the significance that communication patterns, beliefs, and behaviors hold within a multitude of relationship types. Unfortunately, the same research also shows that effective or positive communication is still not occurring as often as we think. Communicative interaction breaks down, fails, or is utilized negatively more often when emotionally charged topics are at the forefront of the conversation, most often due to reported personal discomfort. This negative interaction, and the subsequent breakdown in communication, can foster a snowball effect – decreasing relationship and sexual satisfaction. This study was aimed to discover how perceived comfort levels contributes to the lack of communication of certain topics and how it is affecting relationship and sexual satisfaction. The type of communicative process that occurs will affect the sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction. Through an online survey, participants anonymously responded to statements related to these concepts in order to test relationships. Overall, it was found that respondents’ participation in self-monitoring, as well as what method of communication they use, strongly influenced their comfort disclosing on different topics. Their comfort did not have significant influence on their then communication process. It was also found that communication processes influence couple’s relationship and sexual satisfaction. These results urge marriage and family therapists to update their clinical toolboxes and add self-monitoring to their conceptualization when working with couples.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Child Development and Family Studies

Campus location

  • Hammond

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. David P. Nalbone

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Christopher K. Belous

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Catherine M. Gillotti