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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. (Unpublished)

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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
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Troxel, Wendy M.troxelw@upmc.eduMILLMAN
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMatthews, Karen Amatthewska@upmc.eduXYOO
Committee MemberMarsland, Annamarsland@pitt.eduMARSLAND
Committee MemberClark,
Committee MemberMarcus, Marshamarcusmd@upmc.eduMMARCUS
Committee MemberManuck, Stephenmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Committee MemberCampbell, Susan Bsbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Date: 2 October 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 23 May 2006
Approval Date: 2 October 2006
Submission Date: 25 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: communal strength; health; marriage; newlyweds
Other ID:, etd-04252006-134937
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:42
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:35


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