Generating a couple score: Insider and insider-outsider reports of a marriage
Porter, Lawrence Craig
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The present study examines one area that has not been researched well, that of using observers who know the couple well to rate then interactions or level of marital satisfaction. Observers reported on the target couple's marriage using modified forms of the Locke-Wallace Marital Adjustment Test (LWMAT) and the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (FACES HI - Couple Version). This study examined gender and generational differences in raw scores and the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) when the middle generation's marriage was evaluated by then children and by then parents as well as by the target couple. Students at a large Southwestern university were recruited to participate. Through them, then grandparents, parents, and siblings over the age of 18 were invited to participate. In order to test the hypotheses, the 1917 participants were split into 3 groups. Group 1 was comprised of 46 families with a pair of family members from each generation (276). Group 2 consisted of 100 pairs of participants for each generation (600); however, the pairs were not related across generations. Group 3 consisted of 1040 participants, randomly matched within a generation without regard to gender. No significant gender differences were found. However, significant generation differences for raw scores and ICCs were found in each of the groups. For all measures, instruments, and groups, grandparents rated the parent marriage highest and had the highest level of agreement (ICC), and siblings rated the marriage lowest and had the lowest level of agreement. Significant intergenerational differences were least likely in Group 1, suggesting greater agreement among family members; however, ICCs of the parent generation did not correlate significantly with those of the grandparent or sibling generations. ICCs of related pairs (Groups 1 and 2) differed significantly from ICCs for unrelated pairs (Group 3), indicating that participants were not simply responding according to a standard of agreement. Principal Components factor analyses of the LWMAT and Faces III produced similar factor structure for each generation, supporting the use of these two self-report instruments as observer-report measures for close relations.