Indirect Couple Communication and Relationship Satisfaction in Chinese, Western, and Chinese-Western Intercultural Couples

W. Kim Halford*, Sherwynna Lee, Danika N. Hiew, Fons J. R. van de Vijver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Relative to Westerners, Chinese are alleged to prefer more indirect, subtle, and implicit communication, referred to as high-context communication. We examined whether the use of indirect communication is more common, and more closely related to relationship satisfaction, in Chinese compared with Western couples. Cultural differences in communication might lead to relationship distress in intercultural couples, so we also studied intercultural couples. We coded the observed marital problem-solving of n = 36 Chinese couples, n = 32 Western couples, and n = 51 intercultural Chinese-Western couples, all of whom were living in Brisbane, Australia. There were low rates of most indirect communication behaviors in all groups of couples, with few cultural differences other than avoidance, which was notably higher in couples in which the woman was Chinese. Only a few associations of relationship satisfaction with aspects of indirect communication were moderated by culture. The common view of Chinese communication (as being indirect and implicit) was not reflected in the couple communication of Chinese couples living in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-200
Number of pages18
JournalCouple and family psychology-Research and practice
Volume7
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • couple relationship
  • communication
  • intercultural
  • observational
  • Chinese
  • CONFLICT
  • CULTURES
  • MODEL
  • AMERICAN
  • BUSINESS
  • BEHAVIOR
  • STYLES
  • VALUES
  • SELF

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