Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Glen O. Jenson


Glen O. Jenson


The critical lack of research in the area of in-law relationships leaves interested persons wondering about the nature of such relationships. The purpose of this study was to ascertain how the independent variables of sex, number of children, education and age of the sons or daughters-in-law effected the relationship with the mothers and fathers-in-law. The four directional hypotheses tested were: (1) as the age of the son or daughter-in-law increases, the chances for a more positive relationship with mothers and fathers-in-law and their sons and daughters, increases significantly; (2) females feel significantly closer to their parents-in-law than males; (3) as the number of children in the homes of the sons and daughters-in-law increases, the quality of their relationship increases significantly with their parents-in-law; and (4) the higher the educational level of the sons or daughters-in-law the greater the quality of their relationship with their mother or father in law. A total of 238 persons living in the married student housing responded to the questionnaire. The questions were answered accordi. ng to their current or most recent marriage. The questionnaire asked r espondent s to answer how they f elt towards their parent s -inlaw-- fee lings of closeness towards them; titles used to address them; how troublesome they were perceived to be; the type of help received from them; and how their parents-in-l aw compared to other parents-in-law. The following findings were derived from the data using the chi square test, mean scores and F ratios: 1. Respondents 30 years of age and older felt significantly closer emotionally to their parents-in-law than did those 25-29 years of age . 2. Those 30 years of age and older felt their fathers-in-law were less troublesome than those 25-29. 3. Those 30 years of age and older felt emotionally closer to their mothers-in-l aw than those 25-29. 4. Females did feel emotionally closer to their mothers-in-law than males. They also addressed their fathers-in-law in a more positive and personal manner, but when their mean scores and F ratios were analyzed for the problematic and closeness index there were no significant differences. 5. Those with one child felt significantly closer to their mothers-in-law than those with two or more or no children. 6. Those with a high school or less education felt significantly closer to their mothers-in-law than those with some college. The sample was drawn from a university related population, and from a heavily weighted religious group. Both of which could bias the above finding.