Marital Satisfaction

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Marital Satisfaction

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction5


Marital Satisfaction8

Components and Mechanisms8

Contextual Factors13

Marital Satisfaction over Time17

Measuring Marital Satisfaction18

Hypothesized Model19

Statement of Hypotheses22

Research Questions25

Chapter 2: Literature Review28

Theoretical Approaches32

Effects of Parental Divorce38

Effects of Parental Divorce on Marital Quality40

Effects of Parental Divorce on Children's Marital Commitment41

Effects of Parental Divorce on Children's Marital Instability42

Effects of Socioeconomic Status of Parents on Children's Mate Selection Risk Factors44

Effects of Relative Heterogeneity on Marital Quality and on Marital Instability45

Effects of Mate Selection Risk Factors on Marital Quality46

Effects of Marital Quality on Marital Commitment and Marital Instability47

Effects of Barriers on Marital Commitment48

Effects of Alternatives on Marital Commitment50

Effects of Marital Commitment on Marital Instability51

Gender Differences in the Intergenerational Transmission of Marital Instability53

Chapter 3: Methodology56

Research Design56

Data Analyses57

Chapter 4: Findings60

Correlation Findings72

Reliability and Validity74

Chapter 5: Conclusion79



Future Research87


Marital Satisfaction


The immediate impact of parental marital disruption on children and adolescents has been increasingly documented inthe research literature (Camara & Resnick, 1988; Hetherington, Cox, & Cox, 1982; Kline, Johnston & Tschann, 1991; Wallenstein & Kelley, 1980). However, relatively few studies have searched for long-term consequences of early family disruption that may persist into adulthood (Amato & Booth, 1991 b). According to Pope and Mueller (1976), children from parental marriages disrupted by divorce during their childhood have higher rates of divorce or separation in their own marriages than children from intact parental marriages. In other words, divorce seems to transmit to the next generation.

Chapter 1: Introduction


The country's divorce rate has almost doubled between 1960 and 1991, rising from 25.8 per 1,000 marriages in 1960 to 50.1 per 1,000 marriages in 1991 (U.S. Bureau of Census, 1993). High divorce rates have resulted in numerous changes in American family life. Perhaps the most important consequence is related to the children whose families were disrupted (Demo & Acock, 1988). The proportion of children experiencing their parents' marital disruption increased from 22 per cent in theearly 1960s to an estimated 46 per cent in the 1980s (Bumpass, 1984). Each year more than 1.1 million children are affected by parental divorce (Kunz, 1991).

Considerable evidence indicates that in the United States persons whose parents divorced are more likely to divorce than persons whose parents had stablemarriages (Glenn & Shelton, 1983; Kitson, Babri, & Roach, 1985; Kobrin & Waite, 1984; Kulka & Weingarten, 1979; Kunz, 1991; Mueller & Pope, 1977). Levinger (1976) reported that a history of divorce between the parents of either spouse appeared to contribute to divorce proneness. Continued tolerance for marital difficulty would be lower if parents' marital intolerance was previously experienced.

Based on a national survey, Booth and Edwards (1989) suggested that parental divorce is associated with divorce proneness, marital disagreement, and marital problems. Mott and Moore (1979) also argued that being raised in a broken home was positively associated with marital disruption even after controlling for other socioeconomic variables.

Kulka and Weingarten (1979) reported modest, albeit mixed evidence for the intergenerational transmission of marital instability from an examination of 1957 and 1976 national cross-sectional surveys. The transmission effect was statistically reliable only for women in 1957, and when controls for age and education ...
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