THE RELATIONSHIP OF COUPLES' MORAL REASONING, MORAL ACTION CHOICES, AND SEX-ROLE TYPE TO MARITAL ADJUSTMENT
This dissertation was designed to examine the relationship between the following independent variables: degree of similarity in married couples' moral reasoning, their mean level of moral reasoning, and their degree of similarity in moral action choices, and the dependent variable of marital adjustment. The "morality" variables were conceptualized according to Kohlberg's stage theory of moral development, and were measured with Rest's Defining Issues Test. Analyses were also performed to determine if the degree of married couples' psychological androgyny and/or sex-role symmetry was related to marital adjustment. The relationship between pertinent demographic variables and the above variables was also examined. A sample of 37 couples (Group A) was randomly selected from a Catholic parish, and a sample of 57 couples (Group B) was selectively chosen from a variety of sources. Tests of differences between the groups revealed a number of significant differences, which resulted in separate analyses of the two groups. Zero-order correlations for Group A revealed a significant relationship between higher stage moral reasoning of couples and the degree of adjustment experienced in their marriages. Multiple regression analysis showed that couples' level of moral reasoning explained 17% of the variance in marital adjustment; and when considered jointly with degree of psychological androgyny, similarity of moral action choices, number of years married, and mean age, 34% of the variance was explained. Further analyses of the relationship between psychological androgyny, sex-role symmetry, and marital adjustment failed to reveal significant results. The Group B results revealed no significant relationships between the variables of interest. Supplementary analyses considering "individuals" as the unit of analysis provided results that were generally consistent with the results obtained with couples. Implications for the application of findings to counseling settings are discussed, with particular emphasis on the issue of couples' higher stage reasoning and perspective taking ability. Specific techniques extracted from the educational/developmental literature are offered as suggestions for facilitating the counseling process. Unresolved issues and alternative considerations regarding the hypotheses that failed to receive support are discussed. Limitations and suggestions for further research in this area are considered.
THOMAS JOHN DETERS,
"THE RELATIONSHIP OF COUPLES' MORAL REASONING, MORAL ACTION CHOICES, AND SEX-ROLE TYPE TO MARITAL ADJUSTMENT"
(January 1, 1983).
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