Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

William R. Dobson


William R. Dobson


Elwin C. Nielsen


Walter R. Borg


Richley Crapo


C. Jay Skidmore


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate perceived parental relationships and their correlation to mate selection. The secondary purpose was to investigate the agreement (1) between the husband's perception of the wife and her perception of herself and (2) between the wife's perception of the husband and his perception of himself (hereafter, perceptual agreement) in relation to marital adjustment.

Sixty couples with one or both partners attending Utah State University of Logan, Utah, participated in the study. The following instruments were administered to all individuals: A brief biographical questionnaire containing items regarding sex, student-non-student status, occupation, education, number of months married, and religion; The Locke-Wallace Short Marital Adjustment Scale; and The Interpersonal Check List in which each person was to describe himself (herself), the mate, mother, and father.

A number of hypotheses were made regarding positive and negative relationships with parents and their possible relationships to mate selectio nand subsequent marital happiness. For some of these hypotheses correlations were computed for self/spouse, perception of spouse/spouse, self/mother, self/father, self/spouse's mother, and self/spouse's father with regard to each of the 16 individual diagnostic categories and the two overall adaptive and maladaptive response scores from the ICL For one hypothesis, discrepancy scores with regard to perceptual accuracy with one's mate were calculated for the two overall categories of the ICL. These scores were then correlated with his or her respective marital adjustment score as measured by The Locke-Wallace Short Marital Adjustment Scale.

It was found that with either adaptive or maladaptive parental (mother and/or father) relationships, one's spouse tends to be similar to his or her own parents. In addition, significant trends were noted concerning perceptions of the mate and self-perceptions with regard to parental relations. It was evident that there is a sex difference with regard to the effect of one's parental relationships. It was also apparent that parental relationships may have a more profound impact upon the female than upon the male, since more significant relationships at the .01 and .05 levels were evident for females.

Concerning adaptive similarities for the wife's parents and her mate (self description), significant positive relationships were found in the overall category for the mother (.01) and for the father (.05). No significant relationships were evident for the husband with regard to adaptive parental relations and his mate. As for the overall maladaptive characteristics, a significant positive relationship was found for the wife's father and mate (.01) and also for the husband's father and mate (.05).

With reference to the perception of the spouse, several significant relationships can be noted. For the female, there is a tendency to perceive her mate as being similar to her father in adaptive qualities; while for the maladaptive areas, the female tends to perceive her mate as being similar to her mother. As for the male, he tends to perceive his mate as being similar to his mother in both adaptive and maladaptive areas.

With relation to self perception and parental figures, the female tends to perceive herself to be like her mother and father equally in adaptive areas but in the maladaptive areas, she perceives herself to be more like her mother. As for the male, he tends to see himself as being more similar to his mother in adaptive qualities and to his father in maladaptive characteristics.

As for perceptual agreement, the data disclose that wives and husbands have similar perceptual accuracy, but especially with adaptive qualities . On the other hand, it was revealed that perceptual agreement is positively related to marital adjustment but specifically related to the perceptual accuracy of the maladaptive characteristics. In addition, it appears that if one spouse is satisfied (dissatisfied), the mate will also tend to be satisfied (dissatisfied).

Other characteristic trends of interpersonal relations were evident from the plethora of data available and were discussed.



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