Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Glen O. Jenson


Glen O. Jenson


Marital quality has been defined as the subjective feelings of happiness and satisfaction that a spouse experiences when considering all current aspects of his/her marriage. This study examined five dependent variables regressed on ten independent variables. The sample for this study came from the National Survey of Families and Households. Five hypotheses were found to be supported , with at least three of the five dependent variables showing statistical significance. Age at the time of marriage, education, health and well-being, and couples ' satisfaction in the parenting role were positively related to marital quality. The length of the marriage was found to be negatively related.

Five additional hypotheses were found to be supported, with at least one of the dependent variables showing statistical significance. The relationship of the respondent with his or her parents, the relationship with his or her in-laws, and the respondent's feelings of self satisfaction were positively related to marital quality. Church attendance was positively related to marital quality for the husband but negatively related for the wife. It was also found that cohabitation was negatively related to marital quality.

Five hypotheses were not supported. It was found that men's marital quality was no different than women's and that race was not a factor affecting marital quality. Respondents without children did not report having higher marital quality nor did couples whose weddings were performed in a religious setting have higher marital quality than those performed in a nonreligious setting. Additionally, marital quality of couples of the same religious denomination was no different than couples not sharing the same religious denomination.

The design of this study was directed by the use of symbolic interaction theory . Regression analysis was used to test three models. Overall more than half of the predictors were found to be significant.