In addition to the intrapersonal and interpersonal factors reviewed, environmental factors also affect relationship satisfaction. Life events such as the loss of a job or illness, as well as chronic stressors such as unemployment, can contribute to decreased levels of satisfaction. The effects of environmental factors can best be explained through their interaction with intrapersonal and interpersonal vulnerabilities, however. For example, although Cowan and Cowan reported significant drops in satisfaction around the time couples have their first child, couples who communicate better appear to be less vulnerable to erosion of marital satisfaction around this stressful time (2000).


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