Date of Award:

12-2011

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Kay Bradford. Ph.D., LMFT

Abstract

Previous longitudinal studies on predictors of marital satisfaction have specifically focused their attention on using sociodemographic (distal) and proximal mediating factors as predictive variables for the advancement in the study of marriage satisfaction. This current study sought to add to these previous studies by using a combination of distal and proximal (mediator) variables to test a model to help explain the risk and protective factors that influence marriage from newlywed to established marriage. This task was accomplished by running a series of multiple regression analyses using a mediator regression model. This study found that a difficult transition to marriage at time 1, while mediated by time 1 total problem subscale score and a time 1 marital satisfaction score, was significantly negatively correlated with marital satisfaction five years later (time 3).

In addition, this study focused on the evolving nature of problem area issues in marriage from newlywed to established marriage. This focus is based on previous work done by the Center for Marriage and the Family, but primarily on the updated work by Schramm and colleagues, who simplified the 42-item problem issue questionnaire by creating six problem subscales.

This study found significant differences between time 1 (newlywed) and time 3 (established marriage) problem subscale scores. Participants tended to report that problem subscale issues worsened over time. Furthermore, newlywed participants deemed “at-risk” (with any one or more distal and or proximal risk factor) reported a significant increase in all problem subscales from time 1 to time 3. Moreover, gender played an important role in that husbands reported higher problem subscale issue scores at time 3 than wives.

Overall, this research should contribute to those who work with, design programming, or conduct research on married couples. The findings from this study advance existing knowledge on newlywed and established marriage as well as suggest future directions of study.

Comments

Publication made available electronically January 24, 2012.

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