Investigating Couples' Interactive Patterns at Three Stages of the Family Life Cycle

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

2 Family Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: This study aims to investigate the couples' interaction patterns at three stages of family life cycle including couples without children, childbearing families and families with adolescent children.
Method: This study is a qualitative research with a phenomenology method. Using purposive sampling, 28 couples were selected from Yazd (20-50 year old couples). The required data was collected through designed scenarios using in-depth semi-structured interview and the Marital Adjustment Test. To analyze the data, the seven-stage Colaizzi model was imitated.
Results: Totally, 12 components of negative interaction patterns were identified including defensiveness, criticism, anger, gender rules, belligerence, family contempt, contempt, domineering, tense humor, contempt for her/himself, sadness and retreat. Positive interaction codes included cautious behavior, interest in the relation, validation, affection, humor, surprise, self-disclosure, seeing themselves as a unit, sense of humor, emotion management, and normalization. The findings indicate significant differences in the amount of usage, form, purpose and verbal manifestation of these components in each of the stages.
Conclusion: It can be stated that different life cycle stages have certain features that can make an impact on the couples' interaction patterns.


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