Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Negative Sentiment Override in Couples and Families

  • John GottmanEmail author
  • Carrie Cole
  • Donald L. Cole
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_180-1



Negative sentiment override is a concept that Dr. John Gottman used to describe the condition that occurs when negative thoughts and feelings about one’s partner become predominant in the relationship. When an individual is in this state, their partner’s statements, attitudes, and behaviors are often experienced as negative even if they are neutral or positive. Hawizins et al. (2002) For example, a partner is late coming home from work and their spouse has made several attempts to call, but there was no answer. If the partner is in negative sentiment override (also known as negative perspective), he or she will entertain negative thoughts like “He knows it’s me calling, that’s why he won’t pick up the phone. He doesn’t even have the decency to let me know that he’s okay.” Conversely, if the partner is in positive sentiment override (also known as a positive perspective), he or she would think “Gee, I hope he’s okay. He usually answers.”


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Gottman InstituteSeattleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA