Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

James K. McNulty

Committee Members

Lowell Gaertner, Michael Olson


This study investigates the relationship between implicitly assessed (i.e., unexpressed, sometimes unconscious, “gut-level”) attitudes and explicitly assessed attitudes in romantic couples. 135 newlywed couples were examined in a laboratory session. A series of Hierarchical Linear Models were run to assess whether implicitly assessed attitudes predict the use of demand-withdraw behaviors in conflict discussion tasks. Results indicate that, for demand behaviors, there is a 3-way interaction between implicitly assessed attitudes, participant sex, and partner behavior during the discussion task. Implicitly assessed attitudes did not predict withdraw behaviors. Theoretical implications for both implicitly assessed attitudes research and romantic relationships research are discussed.

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