Date of Award

Summer 1983

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hennessy, Thomas

Second Advisor

Ivanoff, John

Third Advisor

Bardwell, Rebecca


Many of the characteristics of the "Future Shock" society that Alvin Toffler so eloquently describes have become evident in contemporary society (Toffler, 1970). One dimension of society that has experienced some of the pain of rapid social change has been the family, and, in particular, marital relationships. In his description of the attitudes of couples of the future, Toffler states: They will know, too, that when the paths of husband and wife diverge, when there is too great a discrepancy in developmental stages, they may call it quits--without shock or embarrassment, perhaps even without some of the pain that goes with divorce today. And when the opportunity presents itself, they will marry again ••• and again ••• and again. (Toffler, 1970, p. 251) This passage is not cited to suggest that this rather casual attitude toward marriage and divorce has been adopted by most or even many, but rather to call attention to the fact that marital instability and divorce have become rather commonplace in recent decades and that developmental differences could be a contributing factor to this phenomenon. Divorce statistics reveal to us that in 1979 there were 1,181,000 divorces in the United States. This was 4.5% higher than the preceding year and just about three times the number reported in 1959 ("Divorce-Nearly Triple in 20 Years," 1981). What is behind these statistics, or, more specifically, what is precipitating this rapid increase in the number of couples expressing dissatisfaction with their marriage?..



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