Predictors of marital adjustment in the initial stage of marriage
Beard, Linda M F
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The purpose of the study was to identify predictors of marital adjustment in the initial stage of marriage. The initial stage of marriage was conceptualized from a family stress perspective as a normative transition, a predictable experience of change and stress requiring adjustment and adaptation. The Double ABCX Model, derived from family stress theory, was used to identify variables that were hypothesized to be related to marital adjustment: pile-up of life events stresses occurring in the initial stage of marriage, personal resources of gender role orientation and gender role attitudes, and effective coping patterns used by individuals during the initial stage of marriage. Findings of the study were based upon a sample of 132 respondents, 67 males and 65 females, married 1 to 48 months with no children. As predicted, there were no gender differences in marital adjustment, and the sample of young married respondents indicated fairly high scores on the measure of marital adjustment. Effective coping patterns identified by the sample included Get Help, which involved using helpful services and activities. Religion, which focused on having faith, and Relate, which emphasized doing things with relatives. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine relationships of variables hypothesized to be predictors of marital adjustment during the initial stage of marriage. None of the variables, including pile-up of life stressors, gender role resources, the coping patterns (Get Help, Religion, and Relate), and length of time married, was related significantly to marital adjustment. Additional analyses were undertaken to explore the relationship of other variables to marital adjustment. Religiosity, length of time married, income, proximity to parents, and personal well-being were not related to marital adjustment for either husbands or wives. The use of balanced coping strategies and greater personal stress were associated with marital adjustment for males. The results suggest that even though marital adjustment is similarly high for males and females in the initial stage of marriage, different factors make the marital experience unique for males and females.