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Marital Quality, Communal Strength, and Physical Health

Troxel, Wendy M. (2006) Marital Quality, Communal Strength, and Physical Health. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    Much of the extant literature on marital quality and health has examined marital quality as a static, global construct, measured at a single assessment. However, marital quality is a dynamic construct that fluctuates over time, particularly in the early years of marriage. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether changes in overall marital satisfaction and communal strength are associated with mental and physical health symptoms assessed via the SF-36 in a cohort of newlywed couples (N = 74 couples). Marital measures including marital satisfaction (MS) and communal strength (CS) were collected at baseline (26 days prior to marriage) and approximately 2 years later. The SF-36 was administered 3 years following baseline. Results showed that baseline MS and CS were associated with significantly fewer mental and physical health symptoms (p's < .05). Independent of baseline level, decreases in CS were associated with poorer mental health (B = .06, SE = .03). There were no sex differences in the effects. Controlling for depressive symptoms reduced the effects of baseline MS and CS on mental and physical health to non-significance. However, the effect of change in CS on mental health remained significant after controlling for depressive symptoms (B = .05, SE = .02). The present findings suggest that even in the early stages of marriage, lower initial levels of marital satisfaction and spousal responsiveness to needs (communal strength) as well as changes in communal strength are associated with increased mental and physical health symptoms.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmail
    Committee ChairMatthews, Karen Amatthewska@upmc.edu
    Committee MemberMarsland, Annamarsland@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberClark, Margaretmargaret.clark@yale.edu
    Committee MemberMarcus, Marshamarcusmd@upmc.edu
    Committee MemberManuck, Stephenmanuck@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberCampbell, Susan Bsbcamp@pitt.edu
    Title: Marital Quality, Communal Strength, and Physical Health
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: Much of the extant literature on marital quality and health has examined marital quality as a static, global construct, measured at a single assessment. However, marital quality is a dynamic construct that fluctuates over time, particularly in the early years of marriage. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether changes in overall marital satisfaction and communal strength are associated with mental and physical health symptoms assessed via the SF-36 in a cohort of newlywed couples (N = 74 couples). Marital measures including marital satisfaction (MS) and communal strength (CS) were collected at baseline (26 days prior to marriage) and approximately 2 years later. The SF-36 was administered 3 years following baseline. Results showed that baseline MS and CS were associated with significantly fewer mental and physical health symptoms (p's < .05). Independent of baseline level, decreases in CS were associated with poorer mental health (B = .06, SE = .03). There were no sex differences in the effects. Controlling for depressive symptoms reduced the effects of baseline MS and CS on mental and physical health to non-significance. However, the effect of change in CS on mental health remained significant after controlling for depressive symptoms (B = .05, SE = .02). The present findings suggest that even in the early stages of marriage, lower initial levels of marital satisfaction and spousal responsiveness to needs (communal strength) as well as changes in communal strength are associated with increased mental and physical health symptoms.
    Date: 02 October 2006
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 23 May 2006
    Approval Date: 02 October 2006
    Submission Date: 25 April 2006
    Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-04252006-134937
    Uncontrolled Keywords: communal strength; health; marriage; newlyweds
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:42
    Last Modified: 05 Jun 2012 10:14
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-04252006-134937/, etd-04252006-134937

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