Document Type


Source Publication Title

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

First Page


Last Page




This study tested predictions from Ickes and Simpson’s (1997, 2001) empathic accuracy model. Married couples were videotaped as they tried to resolve a problem in their marriage. Both spouses then viewed a videotape of the interaction, recorded the thoughts and feelings they had at specific time-points, and tried to infer their partner’s thoughts and feelings. Consistent with the model, when the partner’s thoughts and feelings were relationship-threatening (as rated by both the partners and by trained observers), greater empathic accuracy on the part of the perceiver was associated with pre-to-posttest declines in the perceiver’s feelings of subjective closeness. The reverse was true when the partner’s thoughts and feelings were non-threatening. Exploratory analyses revealed that these effects were partially mediated through observer-ratings of the degree to which partners tried to avoid the discussion issue.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Publication Date




Included in

Psychology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.