''Til Death Do Us Part:' Marital Aftermath of One Spouse's Near-Death Experience Page: 210
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JOURNAL OF NEAR-DEATH STUDIES
qualitative study of NDE aftereffects, found that the divorce rate
among 50 Australian NDErs was three times that of Australia's gen-
eral population. Mori Insinger (1991), in a study specifically address-
ing the quality of family and spousal relationships among 11 NDErs,
found that some families coped well and were strengthened by the
NDE whereas other families encountered difficulty and ceased to
function as well as they had before the event.
Gary Groth-Marnat and Roger Summers (1998) conducted a quan-
titative study that addressed changes in beliefs, attitudes, and val-
ues of NDErs following their NDEs. Participants were 53 NDErs and
27 individuals who had come close to death without an NDE (non-
NDErs). For corroboration, significant others-spouses, children, and
parents-of both participant groups also rated the extent and types
of participants' changes. Results indicated that NDErs experienced a
significantly greater number of changes-for example, increased con-
cern for others, reduced death anxiety, increased belief in an after-
life, and enhanced awareness of paranormal phenomenon-than non-
NDErs. Significant others mostly corroborated the changes. As best
we could determine, these researchers assessed marital/interpersonal
changes with one item on Ring's (1984) Life Changes Questionnaire,
"changes in family involvement," and marital status with one item
on a demographics questionnaire. They found that neither marital/
interpersonal changes nor marital status changes differed between
NDErs and nonNDErs. Regarding their finding of no difference, they
reasoned that coming close to death without an NDE might result
in post-traumatic aftereffects as challenging to couples as NDE af-
tereffects. It also might be that the assessment items, and the use of
children and parents among significant others, may not have tapped
into more subtle aspects of marital change. These researchers did not
examine marital adjustment before and after the event.
Together, these studies mostly suggest increased marital distress
and dissolution in the aftermath of an NDE of one of the spouses but
also provide contradictory results. One way to conceptualize and fur-
ther examine marital adjustment and stability following an NDE of
one of the spouses is through John Gottman's (1999) model of marital
John Gottman's Sound Marital House
Over the past two decades-since the publication of most research on
NDEs and marriage-John Gottman (1994, 1999; Gottman & Gott-
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Christian, Rozan & Holden, Janice Miner. ''Til Death Do Us Part:' Marital Aftermath of One Spouse's Near-Death Experience, article, Summer 2012; Durham, North Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc938084/m1/4/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .