The purpose of this study is to contribute to the knowledge base on anxiety symptomatology, marital satisfaction, and social support by examining the unique relationships among these 3 variables, as well as the role of social support communication as a moderator of the existing relationship between anxiety symptomatology and marital satisfaction, to inform clinical endeavors with couples who are navigating symptoms of anxiety. Gender differences between husbands and wives in these associations were also examined. Using previously collected pre-treatment data from a sub-sample of 96 chronically and seriously distressed heterosexual couples seeking couple therapy, simultaneous linear regressions were run between partners’ anxiety symptomatology, as measured by the anxiety subscale of the COMPASS, their own marital satisfaction, as measured by the DAS, and their own negative and positive social support communication, coded from observed social support interactions using the SSIRS. Partners’ social support behavior as a moderator of their anxiety symptomatology and marital satisfaction was examined using HLM. Partners’ marital satisfaction was found to be significantly negatively related to their negative social support behavior and significantly positively related to their positive social support behavior. However, contrary to predictions, marital satisfaction and anxiety were not significantly related, anxiety symptomatology and social support communication (either negative or positive) were not significantly related, and there was no support for social support communication (either negative or positive) moderating the effect of anxiety symptomatology on marital satisfaction. No significant gender differences were found. Limitations of the current study and clinical implications are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Anxiety -- Case studies; Social networks -- Psychological aspects; Couples therapy -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Eldridge, Kathleen;