Marital Arguing Remains Constant Over Time

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 15 (UPI) — The degree to which a married couple argues — whether a little or a lot — is not likely to change much during the course of decades, U.S. researchers found.

Lead author Claire Kamp Dush of Ohio State University and Miles Taylor of Florida State University used data from the Marital Instability Over the Life Course survey, conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, who tracked nearly 1,000 couples from 1980 to 2000. The telephone surveys started with 2,033 married people age 55 and younger in 1980.

Marital conflict was measured by how often respondents said they disagreed with their spouse — never, rarely, sometimes, often or very often.

The study, published online ahead of print of the Journal of Family Issues, found 16 percent of couples who reported little conflict — or even the 60 percent who have only moderate levels of conflict — argued to the same degree 20 years later.

In addition, the 22 percent of couples who say they fight and argue with each other a lot continued to argue a lot 20 years later.

“There was a very slight decrease in the amount of conflict reported in the final years of the study, which was slightly larger for the high-conflict couples,” Dush says in a statement. “Still, the differences over time were small.”

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