Monitoring pronouns in conflicts temporal dynamics of verbal communication in couples across the lifespan

Mona Neysari, Guy Bodenmann, Matthias R Mehl, Katharina Bernecker, Fridtjof W. Nussbeck, Sabine Backes, Martina Zemp, Mike Martin, Andrea B. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Conflict communication represents a basic process for the quality of intimate relationships, which is fundamental to well-being over the lifespan. This study investigates the temporal unfolding of different relational perspectives during a conflict situation by monitoring pronoun use in young, middle-aged, and old couples within the theoretical framework of Gottman’s phases of conflict. Our results reveal different trajectories of “I”-, “you”-, and “we”-talk over a conflict conversation in both partners. These trajectories differ between females and males. Furthermore, “you”-talk and “we”-talk differed among the age groups over time. Understanding the temporal dynamics of marital communication as reflected by pronoun use seems promising for a better understanding of conflict related processes in couples over the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-213
Number of pages13
JournalGeroPsych: The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Conflict
  • Couple communication
  • Language use
  • LIWC
  • Romantic relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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