Commitment, Pro-Relationship Behaviors, and Marital Quality Among Arab Married Couples in Israel

Niveen Hassan-Abbas*, Tammie Ronen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While most of the work on factors influencing marital quality focuses on conflict reduction, research shows that positive interactions are also significant. Still, few studies have examined the effects of couple behavior in negative and positive contexts in a single theoretical model. Here, we tested whether prorelationship behaviors in negative and positive contexts, namely accommodation and capitalizationsupport, respectively, mediate the positive association between commitment and marital quality. We investigated each partner separately before addressing reciprocal relationships between partners. Given our sample of Arab couples in Israel, we further asked whether reciprocity patterns reflect patriarchal values. A total of 156 couples completed self-report questionnaires. Our novel Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Model was supported among wives and partially among husbands. We found reciprocity in the associations between capitalization-support and marital quality but not between accommodation and marital quality. For wives, marital quality was more closely related to their own accommodation than to their husbands’. For husbands, marital quality was mainly related to their wives’ accommodation, supporting presumably culture-based gender differences. The results with respect to conflict appeared indicative of traditional Arab family values that give wives responsibility for family well-being, reflecting asymmetrical relationships based on unequal status or power. With respect to mutual joy under positive conditions, results were more indicative of reciprocity in modern Western cultures. This finding might reflect gradual changes and modernization in Israel’s Arabic society, despite maintenance of a predominantly traditional culture. The study highlights the importance of cultural sensitivity in addressing marital behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-814
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Accommodation
  • Arab couples in israel
  • Capitalization-support
  • Commitment
  • Marital quality


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