Date of Award:

2005

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Scot M. Allgood

Abstract

This study examined the relationship of three types of martial commitment and religiosity factors in a random sample of I ,316 Utah adults. Participants were surveyed to assess attitudes of marriage, divorce, and marriage education. A lack of commitment was cited by 83% of divorced adults as a major factor for their divorce. The level of commitment to spouse, commitment to marriage, and constraint commitment was determined by extrapolating items from the 2003 Utah Marriage Movement Statewide Baseline Survey. Religiosity included measures of the frequency of church attendance, church affiliation, and religious values. Regression analyses that included socio-demographics showed the strongest and most consistent predictor of commitment to spouse and commitment to marriage was religious values. This study confirms the distinct difference but strong interplay between the three types of marital commitment. There was a negative relationship between both commitment to spouse and commitment to marriage and constraint commitment. Premarital cohabitation was positively related to constraint commitment but negatively related to commitment to spouse and commitment to marriage. Frequency of church attendance, conservative church affiliation (particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints religion), and religious values were all significant factors related statistically to marital commitment. Study findings suggest that educators and marriage therapists engaged in helping couples can productively focus on marital commitment, the influence of religious activity, and belief systems in strengthening marriage relationships.