Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development


D. Kim Openshaw


The purpose of this study was to assess similarities and differences in marital adjustment between Deaf-Deaf and Deaf-hearing married couples. In examining marital adjustment, Spanier's Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS) was translated from English to American Sign Language (ASL) and administered to 30 Deaf-Deaf and 22 Deaf-hearing couple respondents.

Although there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups. Deaf-Deaf couples tended to have higher marital adjustment mean scores than Deaf-hearing couples. Deaf-hearing females reported the lowest levels of marital adjustment.

A qualitative component of the study yielded information concerning what Deaf-Deaf and Deaf-hearing couples consider the most important factors contributing to marital happiness. Both Deaf-Deaf and Deaf-hearing couples reported that language and cultural compatability is the most important quality of a successful marriage.

The need for continued research on the differences between Deaf-Deaf and Deaf-hearing marriages was addressed. The theoretical Implications of the study were highlighted, along with other recommendations concerning the role of marriage and family therapists who work with Deaf couples.