Document Type



Edith Cowan University


Supervisors: Professor Ken Greenwood


The levels of marital satisfaction and how these were predicted by scores on the Romantic Partner Conflict Scale were assessed separately in Australian males (n = 48) and females (n = 100) and Chinese males (n = 321) and females (n = 321). Contrary to expectations, marital satisfaction was higher in the Australian sample than in the Chinese sample. However, there was a culture by gender interaction in which Australian females were much more satisfied than Chinese females. Satisfaction scores for males in both cultures were different, with males being less satisfied than females in the Australian sample and the converse in the Chinese sample with males being more satisfied than females. Scores on the Romantic Partner Conflict Scale more strongly predicted marital satisfaction in both Australian males (Radj2 = .43) and females (Radj2 = .21) than in Chinese males (Radj2 = .10) and females (Radj2 = .11). In both of the Australian male and female samples, Compromise in conflict situations was the strongest predictor in a positive direction of marital satisfaction. For females, Interactional Reactivity also entered the equation in a negative direction. For Chinese males, the strongest predictor of satisfaction was Submission (negative direction) followed by Compromise (positive direction). For Chinese females, Separation (negative direction) and Interactional Reactivity (positive direction) entered the prediction equation. These results show that how conflict is dealt with in the relationship is a much strong predictor of marital satisfaction in Australians than in Chinese and that the ability to compromise is important in both Australian sexes. In China, how conflict is dealt with is less important in marital satisfaction and the aspects of conflict handling that predict satisfaction are different to those in Australia and different between the sexes. These results indicate cross-cultural difference in the prediction of marital satisfaction between China and Australia.

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