According to a survey, people are less satisfied with their marriage when their partner is uninterested in social interactions

According to a survey, people are less satisfied with their marriage when their partner is uninteres ...

A year-long research of newlywed couples found that individuals with severe social anhedonia (disinterest in social interactions and poor relationship functioning) were less satisfied with their marriages. Spouses of such individuals also were less satisfied with their marriage.

Social anhedonia is seen as a decreased desire to belong and a lack of pleasure from social interactions. It is a hallmark of numerous mental health conditions, including depression, schizophrenia, and schizotypy.

Social anhedonia patients tend to spend more time alone and to not experience positive emotions during social situations. Previous studies related social anhedonia to decreased romantic interest, diminished commitment and care, as well as decreased social support and conflict.

Kenneth Tan and his colleagues wanted to investigate the effects of social anhedonia on marital satisfaction and communication between marital partners, and to see whether these communication patterns mediate the connection between social anhedonia and marital satisfaction. Data were collected at the start of the experiment, 6 months later (2nd wave) and 12 months later (3rd wave).

The participants consisted of 100 couples who were married up to 12 months before the beginning of the study. The study was conducted between 2011 and 2013. Only 83 couples participated in the final round of the study.

Participants completed surveys on social anhedonia (the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale), communication between partners and conflict in the relationship (the Communication Patterns Questionnaire), and marital happiness (the Dyadic Adjustment Scale).

Couples were quite satisfied with their relationships, according to research conducted in other fields that examined social anhedonia and romantic relationships. Participants who had more extensive social anhedonia reported lower marital satisfaction. Partners with more extensive social anhedonia also reported lower marital satisfaction.

When data from different waves were compared, it was found that social anhedonia at the start of the experiment was not associated with marital satisfaction a year later, even when marital satisfaction at the beginning of the study was controlled for. In other words, social anhedonia did not lead to the individual's marital satisfaction changing over time. However, one's own social anhedonia at the beginning of the study was only marginally associated with marital satisfaction a year later.

Individuals who were higher in social anhedonia reported less constructive communication and more demand/withdrawal/avoiding/withholding communication. The last two are unfavorable communication patterns. These associations were not found in marital communication assessments given by the partner.

Our findings demonstrate that social anhedonia has a detrimental effect on both partners in a newlywed marriage, and that self-reported communication styles partially mediated these effects, but only for the actor.

The research explores the role of social anhedonia in intimate relationships. However, there are still limitations that must be addressed. The sample consisted of relatively healthy newlywed different-sex couples with generally high relationship satisfaction and low levels of social anhedonia.

Kenneth Tan, Amber M. Jarnecke, and Susan C. South conducted a research on newlywed couples' social anhedonia, communication, and marital satisfaction.

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