The Dynamic Interplay Between Satisfaction With Intimate Relationship Functioning and Daily Mood in Low-Income Outpatients

Rebecca L. Brock, Molly R. Franz, Jessica J. O'Bleness, Erika Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Substantial research supports bidirectional links between intimate relationship discord and individual psychopathology, including depressive symptoms. However, few studies have utilized daily diary methods to capture the micro-level processes underlying the association between couple discord and depression, particularly among populations that are at elevated risk for both interpersonal and individual dysfunction. To address this gap, we examined whether daily changes in satisfaction with relationship functioning were associated with daily changes in negative affect and positive affect over the span of 2 weeks among mental health outpatients of low socioeconomic status. Participants were 53 low-income outpatients from community mental health clinics who completed a semi-structured interview about the quality of their intimate relationships followed by 14 daily reports of positive and negative mood and satisfaction with relationship functioning across several domains. Growth curve analytic techniques revealed the hypothesized bidirectional relations. Decline in satisfaction with relationship functioning predicted escalation in negative affect and deterioration in positive affect over 2 weeks, and deterioration of mood predicted declining satisfaction with relationship functioning. This study extends existing knowledge about couple dysfunction and individual psychopathology by highlighting the immediate nature of this dynamic process as it unfolds over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-907
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Process
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Daily Diary
  • Intimate Relationship Satisfaction
  • Low-Income
  • Negative Affect
  • Outpatients
  • Positive Affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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