Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Lenore S. Brantley

Second Advisor

Nancy J. Carbonell

Third Advisor

W. G. A. Futcher

Abstract

Problem. Limited research has addressed the value of friendship between husbands and wives to the health and well-being of their marital relationships. The present study evaluated the relationship between spousal friendship and marital quality. It made a gender analysis as well.

Method. The Dyadic Adjustment Scale, the Caring Relationship Inventory, and a demographic questionnaire were mailed to 500 couples (1000 married individuals). One or both spouses were members of a Lutheran or a Seventh-day Adventist church in the Columbus, Ohio, area. The sample consisted of 176 married individuals who volunteered to participate anonymously in the research project. A total of 69 couples (matched husbands and wives) were identified in the sample.

Data were analyzed by multiple linear regression and canonical correlation analyses.

Results. Spousal friendship combined with affection were found to relate positively with marital quality for the entire sample. This trend was stronger for wives than for husbands. Of the variables that composed maritaladjustment, (a) Friendship and Affection related positively to Dyadic Consensus (agreement) and Dyadic Satisfaction (commitment to the marriage), (b) Friendship and Eros related positively to Affectional Expression (affection and romance), and (c) Friendship alone related positively to Dyadic Cohesion (shared interests and activities).

Conclusions. The findings in this study suggest that spousal friendship combined with affection is quite important for wives. When they sense that they are respected by their husbands, share common interests with them, and feel loved by them in spite of faults, wives have a strong sense of fulfillment in their marital relationships. Husbands tend to relate affection with marital quality, with a possibility of friendship being equally as important.

Research recommendations include development of an instrument that focuses specifically on friendship in intimate relationships, and replication of the study with a more diverse sample to observe influences of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and education level.

Subject Area

Husband and wife, Marriage, Communication in marriage

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