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The Influence of Spousal Expectations, Interaction, and Bonding on Marital Quality: a Study of Selected Factors Affecting Individuals' Self-Reported Evaluation of their Marriage

Description: This investigation explored the relationship between married individuals' self-reports of their expectations, interaction, spousal bonding, and marital quality. From two universities, two hundred and thirty-seven currently enrolled and married students volunteered to provide the information on these factors via a semistructured self-administered questionnaire. The typical respondent was a female between 31 and 35 years old who had been married 8 years to her first spouse, had one child at home; and was a senior in college. Of the ten independent variables examined three variables contributed the most to individuals' self-reported evaluation of their marital quality. These were the time spent each week with their spouse, satisfaction with the quality of time spent with their spouse, and when the greatest level of bonding experiences occurred. Five significant findings emerged from the study. First, respondents' greater satisfaction with the quality of time spent with their spouse was consistently the strongest predictor of higher marital quality. Second, respondents who bonded more with their spouse after marriage or equally before and after marriage reported higher marital quality than those who bonded more before marriage. Third, the amount of time spouses spent together influenced respondents' reported marital quality. Fourth, spousal bonding has a very strong influence on individuals' self-reported marital quality. The influence of spousal bonding upon marital quality has been neglected by marriage and family researchers. Finally, joint activities such as talking, eating and cooking at home, sex, activities shared with children, and church related activities were identified by respondents as consistently promoting both a higher quality level for the time spent with their spouse and with their spousal bonding. Future research on marital quality should use larger and more representative samples, involve personal interviews, use longitudinal data collection, and perform time series or path analysis.
Date: May 10, 1996
Creator: Kettlitz, Robert E. (Robert Edward)