Date of Award

1988

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.

Second Advisor

S. A. Chaij

Third Advisor

R. C. Kistler

Abstract

Problem. A significant number of married people in contemporary American culture are exhibiting difficulty with the marriage relationship. Since Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Bible suggests basic guidelines, it would seem that their religion would have a positive effect on their marital relationship. The basic question for this research was: For Seventh-day Adventists does religiosity, defined as commitment to biblically-based religious beliefs and practices, contribute to marital satisfaction? Some previous studies demonstrated that it does. Additional multidimensional research was needed to identify which religious dimensions and orientations correlate with marital satisfaction. A multidimensional study of this kind has never been completed on a Seventh-day Adventist population.

Method. The data-producing sample consisted of 228 married Seventh-day Adventists, presently living with their spouses, who resided in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Households were selected by a computerized program. A 63-item research instrument was constructed for the measurement of religiosityand marital satisfaction. Multiple regression was the major statistical method employed to analyze the data.The.05 level was set as the significance criterion for this research.

Findings. The religiosity variables that significantly correlated with marital satisfaction at p $\le$.0001 were family worship and perceived congruence with spouse on religiosity and church attendance. The religiosity variables that significantly correlated at p $\le$.01 were intrinsic orientation and private ritualistic practices. Those that significantly correlated at p $\le$.05 were religious experience, public ritualistic practices, and salience of religion.

The demographic variables that were used as controls were gender, level of education, age, years married, yearly income, and number of children at home. Of these variables only gender correlated with marital satisfaction at a statistically significant level (p $\le$.01).

Conclusions. This study appears to confirm the assumptions that religiosity is measurable, multidimensional, and multifaceted. The strongest predictors for marital satisfaction were family worship and congruence with spouse on religiosity and church attendance. The common theme appeared to be that of spouses sharing religious activities. Another factor that appeared to add to marital satisfaction was possession of an intrinsic religious orientation. A possible explanation is that such persons are able to see beyond their own needs and are more likely to be aware of the needs of their marriage partner and others who touch their life space.

Subject Area

Marriage--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists

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