Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Jerome D. Thayer

Second Advisor

Walter B. T. Douglas

Third Advisor

Thesba Johnston



This study attempted to explore whether or not a significant relationship exists between religious orthodoxy (defined as religious rigidity and religious closed-mindedness) and marital sexual functioning.


Two Likert-type scales were developed to measure religious orthodoxy and marital sexual functioning, respectively, in a sample of 217 subjects representing Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths. The relationship between the eleven indices of marital sexual functioning (overall marital sexual functioning, sexual interest, responsivity, foreplay, frequency, pleasure, inhibition, anxiety, guilt, shame, and disgust) and religious regidity, religious closed-mindedness, and four moderator variables (sex, age, education, and duration of marriage of subjects) were investigated using step-wise and "best" subsets regression procedures.


1. Overall, religious rigidity, religious closed-mindedness, and each of the four moderator variables correlated significantly with marital sexual functioning.

2. When the effects of the moderator variables were controlled, both variables significantly predicted marital sexual functioning. However, overall, religious rigidity was a much better predictor than religious closed-mindedness. Religious closed-mindedness appeared only in the cases in which religious rigidity did not appear.

3. Education emerged as the best predictor of marital sexual functioning among the moderator variables as well as its best overall predictor.

4. The variables of religious rigidity, sex, age, education, and duration of marriage constituted the "best" model for predicting marital sexual functioning.

5. Increasing religious rigidity, religious closed-mindedness, and age were significantly related to decreasing marital sexual functioning, increasing education to increasing marital sexual functioning, and females showed lower marital sexual functioning than males.


1. Overall, there was a significant relationship between religious orthodoxy and marital sexual functioning.

2. Of the two postulated dimensions of religious orthodoxy, religious rigidity emerged as a much better predictor of marital sexual functioning than religious closed-mindedness. This held true even when the effects of the controlled moderator variables considerably reduced the sizes of their correlations. Religious rigidity, therefore, constituted the main component of religious orthodoxy in this study.

Subject Area

Sex--Religious aspects, Sex (Psychology)


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