Date of Award:

1983

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Catherine A. Surra

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare couples who experienced a pregnancy early in their courtship, late in their courtship, or not pregnant at all on their development of behavioral interdependence across three levels of involvement; regularly dating , a couple, and committed to marriage, and into marriage. Data were collected by means of a semi-structured interview schedule which permitted couples to retrospectively graph their courtship from the first time they met until marriage. Partners divided their courtship into the three levels of involvement and then completed questionnaires which ascertained the activities they performed and with whom they performed them for each of the three levels of involvement and once for marriage. Analyses of variance were performed on properties derived from the graphs and the behavioral variables obtained from the activities questionnaires. Partners in the early pregnant group spent more time in the couple 1evel of involvement than in the regularly dating and committed 1evel s and partners in the late pregnant group spent more time in the committed level of involvement than the other levels. Partners in the early and late pregnancy groups performed fewer female activities alone than did the partners in the nonpregnant group; an indication that partners in the two pregnancy groups are less traditional than partners in the nonpregnant group. Partners in the early and late pregnancy groups also reported performing more affectionate activities early in their courtship than did the partners in the nonpregnant group, but the performance of affectionate activities by the early pregnant partners was lower than the late and nonpregnant pairs at marriage. Partners in the early pregnant group seemed to be more isolated in their performance of leisure activities. They performed proportionately fewer leisure activities with family members or friends only than did partners in the late and nonpregnant groups.

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