Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development


Glen 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 l eve l of the sons or daughter s-in- law the greater the quality of their relationship with their mother or fatherin 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-inlaw. The fo llowing findings were derived from the data using the chi square test, mean scores and F ratios: 1. Respondents 30 year s 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-inlaw 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 emot ionally c l oser to their mothersin- 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 fe lt significantly closer to their mothers-in-law than those with two or more or no children. 6. Those with a high schoo l or less education felt significantl y c loser 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.