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Thesis

Between family of origin and spouse: exploring the impact of residential experience on later marital satisfaction

14 December 2001

Abstract

As the divorce rate increases in this country, and it is now more likely that children will be raised in single parent homes than in intact families, discovering practicable pathways to marital satisfaction is vital. It is useful to look at those variables that have been associated positively with marital satisfaction and consider life experiences that offer avenues for such variables to develop. I propose that living independent of family of origin before marriage is one of those experiences. The guiding hypothesis of this thesis is that the personal change resulting from living independent of family of origin prior to marriage will positively impact later marital satisfaction via three specific factors that have each separately been positively related to marital satisfaction. These factors are: 1) a
greater tendency toward egalitarian ideas, and men's more equal sharing in household labor; 2) a critical interpersonal experience to improve conflict resolution skills; and, 3) a more thorough differentiation from family of origin. The effects of residential experience between the time of living with family of origin and living with a spouse is an area that warrants research attention. If my hypothesis is correct, and this experience benefits later marital satisfaction through these routes, the resulting knowledge can guide premarital practices with lasting benefits.


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