Comparison of marital satisfaction, social support network, social support composition, and conflict communication between interfaith and same-faith marriages
Lord, Ashley Michelle
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This is a descriptive study that compares interfaith and same-faith married couples’ reports of intrinsic and extrinsic religious orientation, social network composition, social support, conflict communication, and marital satisfaction. Same-faith participants were recruited through a church in a large, metropolitan city in the south. There was an announcement placed a local church’s weekly mail-out asking for volunteers. In addition, there were announcements made within the church during services. Couples who expressed interest in participating were asked if they were involved in a same-faith marriage. Interfaith participants were recruited in three ways. First, area churches, church organizations, synagogues, and mosques were contacted. Second, an advertisement that requests research participants was published in religious organization newsletters as well as three local newspapers. Finally, networking procedures allowed for the researcher to obtain more participants (N= 197). The results suggest several conclusions. First, intrinsic religious orientation is associated with more mutually constructive communication and is present more so with same-faith couples than interfaith couples. In contrast, extrinsic religious orientation is associated with more demand/withdraw communication and less mutually constructive communication. Furthermore, when religious orientation was compared to the communication variables in combination with couple type, it was concluded that extrinsic interfaith partners reported using more demand-withdraw communication than do intrinsic interfaith partners and extrinsic same-faith partners reported using less demand-withdraw communication than intrinsic same-faith partners. Finally, extrinsic same-faith partners reported more satisfaction in their marriage than did extrinsic interfaith partners and intrinsic same-faith partners reported more satisfaction than intrinsic interfaith partners. Thus, it is concluded that same-faith partners report more marital satisfaction overall.