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''Til Death Do Us Part:' Marital Aftermath of One Spouse's Near-Death Experience

Description: Abstract: Research has revealed that following a near-death experience (NDE) a majority of experiencers (NDEers) change fundamentally in values, religious/spiritual beliefs, and relationship to paranormal phenomena. Much less is known about the relationship between aftereffects of one spouse's NDE and subsequent marital adjustment and stability. In this preliminary retrospective study, we addressed this question quantitatively with supplementary narrative data. Using the framework of John Gottman's (1999) Sound Marital House, we analyzed self-reported adjustment in and stability of the marriages of 26 NDEers before and after a self-identified life-changing event (LCE) unrelated to NDEs. Results indicated a significant reduction in marital meaning (p = .008), adjustment (p = .007), and stability (p = .005) in NDE compared to LCE couples, with a majority of NDE (65%) but only a minority of LCE (35%) couples' marriages ending in divorce. Implications for health professionals are discussed.
Date: Summer 2012
Creator: Christian, Rozan & Holden, Janice Miner
Partner: UNT Libraries