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Rituals promote commitment in marital and family relationships. However, the salience of rituals to commitment in premarital involvements has not been investigated. This study examined if rituals were related to commitment, and to what extent rituals moderated the association between investment model variables (i.e., satisfaction level, investment size, and alternatives) and commitment. University students (N = 100) who were in a couple relationship volunteered to participate. Findings indicated that rituals were significant predictors of commitment; however, no unique variance was accounted for once investment model variables were taken into consideration. Rituals significantly moderated the relationship between alternatives and investments, and commitment. Implications for future research are discussed.
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Rituals and Commitment 1
The moderating effects of rituals on commitment in premarital involvements
Kelly Campbell
University of Georgia
James J. Ponzetti, Jr.
The University of British Columbia
The authors contributed equally to this paper and are listed alphabetically. The study is based on
a graduate thesis by the first author under the direction of the second. An earlier version of this
research was presented at the International Association of Relationship Research conference,
Madison, Wisconsin, July, 2004. The authors would like to acknowledge the helpful comments
of Dan Perlman on an earlier draft. Direct all correspondence to Dr. James Ponzetti, School of
Social Work and Family Studies, 2080 West Mall, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z2. E-mail:
Rituals and Commitment 2
This study examined how rituals were associated with commitment, and to what extent rituals
moderated the investment model variables (i.e., satisfaction level, investment size, and
alternatives) on commitment. Although rituals promote commitment in marital and family
relationships, the salience of rituals to commitment in premarital involvements has not been
investigated. University students (N=100) who agreed to participate were in a couple
relationship but not married. Findings indicated that rituals were significant predictors of
commitment; however, no unique variance was accounted for once investment model variables
were taken into consideration. Rituals significantly moderated the relationship between
alternatives and investments, and commitment. Implications for future research are discussed.
Key words: rituals, commitment, investment model
Rituals and Commitment 3
The moderating effect of rituals on commitment in premarital involvements
Commitment is an essential factor in determining the persistence of intimate
involvements. It reflects a dynamic process that shapes the degree to which individuals intend a
particular relationship to persist into the future because it fulfills personal needs and expectations
in the present (Adams & Jones, 1999). Past research has espoused rituals as vital elements of
premarital involvements (Baxter, 1987; Bossard & Boll, 1950; Fiese, Tomcho, Douglas, Josephs,
Poltrock, & Baker, 2002). Thus, rituals provide an important means for understanding
Rituals serve as guides in close relationships especially during significant life events and
stressful periods. The magical quality of rituals is embedded in their capacity to make transitions
manageable. Simply knowing which rituals lay ahead during a day, a year, or lifetime quells
uncertainty and tempers feelings of anxiety (Fiese, 1992; Schuck & Bucy, 1997; Shipman,
1982). Accordingly, rituals are particularly beneficial during adolescence and early adulthood
because this is a unique time for establishing intimate involvements (Compan, Moreno, Ruiz, &
Pascual, 2002; Eaker & Walters, 2002; Mize, 1995). Further, whether such involvements persist
or end is related to commitment (cf., Kelley, 1983). These conclusions suggest a link between
rituals and the development of commitment in premarital relationships.
Rituals are symbolic events that are repeated in a predictable manner over time. They are
highly valued because they reflect the special experiences and unique interaction that partners
create and share together. Whether rituals emerge from deeply felt religious convictions or
consist of secular customs whose origin has been forgotten over the years, the need for rituals
Rituals and Commitment 4
seems universal. Rituals connect the past with the present and give shape and meaning to the
Characteristics. Five characteristics are definitive of rituals. First, a ritual is a structured
endeavor. Although there is a reticence to vary a ritual, it can change in subtle and gradual ways
if necessary. Second, a ritual is prescribed. Rituals mean precision in procedure. Using familiar
symbols, actions, and words, rituals are enacted in this way, not that. Third, rituals recur.
Repetition is salient to the prescribed form. As a ritual is repeated over and over, there gradually
emerges a sense of rightness about it. Fourth, a ritual is ascribed special meaning for those
involved. It may be more expedient, less expensive, or more efficient to do it another way, but it
does not impart the special meaning ascribed to it when it is not done the right way. The signs
and symbolic actions of ritual embrace meaning that cannot always be easily expressed in words.
Finally, rituals reinforce relationships. Through their execution and repetition, these
characteristics enable rituals to serve a variety of covert processes as well as explicit functions
(Fiese et al., 2002; Viere, 2001; Wolin & Bennett, 1984).
Functions. Rituals serve important and diverse functions in daily interpersonal
involvements especially marital and family relationships. The first and most prominent function
is to bind people together and sustain ongoing interaction. For example, conjugal rituals
strengthen marital bonds, clarify marital role expectations, and enhance marital satisfaction
(Braithwaite & Baxter, 1995; Bruess & Pearson, 1997; Bruess & Pearson, 2002). As family
members share rituals, they develop a sense of belonging and connectedness as family. Family
rituals can transmit common values and beliefs, reiterate family history and heritage, and gather
members together during major changes (Baxter & Clark, 1996; Friedman & Weissbrod, 2004;
Schvaneveldt & Lee, 1983). Second, rituals extend feelings of belonging by creating a sense of
Rituals and Commitment 5
distinctiveness. Personal development within the familial context is supported by rituals (Fiese,
1992; Giblin, 1995; Mize, 1995). Rituals also increase feelings of intimacy and solidify a shared
identity (Chesser, 1980; Moriarity & Wagner, 2004). When individuals establish a common
identity, they also articulate to one another the way to live together (Bennett, Wolin, & McAvity,
1988). In addition, dysfunctional patterns that undermine family interaction can be altered
through the use of rituals (Leon & Jacobvitz, 2003). Finally, rituals are powerful organizers and
can facilitate relationship stability and continuity (Cheal, 1988; Denham, 2003; Fiese, Hooker,
Kotary, & Schwagler, 1993; Kiser, Bennett, Heston, & Paavola, 2005; Oswald, 2002). Research
clearly demonstrates the protective role rituals provide for coping with uncertainty and change
(Bennett, Wolin, Reiss, & Tietlebaum, 1987; Cheal, 1988; Giblin, 1995).
Interpersonal rituals serve as a means of dealing with both normative and non-normative
stressors. For example, normative transitions, such as that from adolescence to adulthood (Fiese,
1992; Meredith, Abbott, Lamanna, & Sanders, 1989), to early parenthood (Fiese et al., 1993), or
to the later years (Albrecht, 1962; Meske, Sanders, Meredith, & Abbott, 1994), are eased by
rituals. Further, rituals facilitate adjustment to non-normative disruptions, such as illness (Bush
& Pargament, 1997; Denham, 2003; Markson & Fiese, 2000), alcoholism (Bennett et al., 1987;
Fiese, 1993; Wolin, Bennett Noonan, & Tietlebaum, 1980; Wolin & Bennett, 1984), marital
dissolution (Berg-Cross, Daniels, & Carr, 1992; Pett, Lang, & Gander, 1992), remarriage
(Braithwaite, Baxter, & Harper, 1998; Whiteside, 1989), and single-parent families (Moriarity &
Wagner, 2004; Olson, & Hayes, 1993). The prescriptive and repetitive nature of rituals imparts
predictability and order to interpersonal life. The multitude of functions requires assorted types
of rituals.
Rituals and Commitment 6
Types. Ritual types range from formal structured occasions like weddings to less
articulated interactions like mealtime. Some rituals celebrate normative transitions, such as
graduations and funerals, but others are emergent rituals in response to unexpected or
nonnormative occurrences, such as a divorce or health crisis. There are daily practices, (such as
the reading of a bedtime story or expressing affection for a partner) and rituals that occur on a
weekly or monthly basis (such as going to a favorite restaurant). In addition, some rituals are
recognized by the whole community; for example, seasonal events such as Thanksgiving,
religious observances such as Passover, or national holidays such as Independence Day. Others
are exclusive to a particular couple (e.g., anniversaries), recognize new generations (e.g.,
birthdays or baptisms), or affirm entire family units (e.g. special holiday gatherings or reunions).
Given previous work concerning rituals in marriage and family relationships, it is surprising that
the association between rituals and commitment in premarital relationships has not been studied
(Fiese & Kline, 1993; Rogers & Holloway, 1991; Viere, 2001; Wolin & Bennett, 1984).
The Investment Model of Commitment
One of the leading theoretical frameworks for understanding commitment is the
investment model developed by Rusbult (1980, 1983). Extensive research has supported the
investment model and its theoretical claims (Rusbult & Buunk, 1993; Rusbult, Drigotas, &
Verette, 1994; Rusbult, Johnson, & Morrow, 1986; Rusbult, Olsen, Davis, & Hannon, 2004).
The model is cross-culturally generalizable, accounting for commitment processes in the United
States, the Netherlands, and Taiwan (Lin & Rusbult, 1995; Van Lange, Rusbult, Drigotas,
Arriaga, Witcher, & Cox, 1997).
The investment model is based on interdependence theory which uses economic models
to explain the process by which individuals develop a sense of commitment. Interdependence
Rituals and Commitment 7
theory proposes that as individuals become involved with a particular other, they are more likely
to want the involvement to continue if they experience rewarding outcomes from it. When
individuals experience more rewards than costs from their involvement, commitment emerges as
a condition of their dependence. The degree of interdependence is enhanced as both satisfaction
with and investment in the involvement increase and the quality of alternatives to their
involvement decrease (Kelley & Thibaut, 1978). The investment model accordingly defines
commitment in terms of three interrelated components; namely, satisfaction level, investment
size, and quality of alternatives (Le & Agnew, 2003; Rusbult, Martz, & Agnew, 1998).
Satisfaction level is conceptualized as the extent to which a relationship is worthwhile.
Investment size refers to resources, both tangible (such as money and possessions) and intangible
(e.g., self-disclosure, emotional involvement), an individual contributes to a relationship that is
non-recoverable if the relationship were to end. The quality of alternatives consists of an
individual’s perceptions of available options that would be more rewarding than the current
relationship. Investment model variables have been shown to predict commitment across a wide
array of relationships, such as friendships, dating relationships, marital relationships, gay and
lesbian relationships, and abusive relationships (Bui, Peplau, & Hill, 1996; Duffy & Rusbult,
1986; Impett, Beals, & Peplau, 2001; Rusbult, 1980a; Rusbult, Bissonnette, Arriaga, & Cox,
1998; Rusbult, Johnson, & Morrow, 1986; Rusbult & Martz, 1995; Rusbult, Verette, Whitney,
Slovik, & Lipkus, 1991).
The purpose of the present study was two-fold. The main goal of this study was to
investigate the link between rituals and commitment. While the association between the
investment model variables and commitment has been demonstrated, whether rituals were
significant predictors of commitment in premarital involvements, and, if so, whether
Rituals and Commitment 8
commitment was explained beyond that accounted for by investment model variables. The
second purpose was to examine to what extent rituals moderated the relationship between
investment model variables and commitment. Rituals were hypothesized to moderate feelings of
commitment, especially during difficult times, because both satisfaction level and investment
size typically decrease and alternatives to the relationship increase.
Participants. One hundred undergraduate students (27 men, 73 women) at a large
university in western Canada, who were in couple relationships but not married, volunteered to
take part in the study. The majority of participants (70%) were exclusively dating at the time
they completed the questionnaire. Participants had been involved with their partners for 22.5
months on average. The mean age of the participants was 22 years (S.D. =2.7 years, range 19-
33). The majority of respondents were either Euro-Canadian (47%) or Chinese-Canadian (22%)
which reflected the composition of the student body.
Measures. The Premarital Rituals Scale (PRS) was designed to assess rituals in
premarital relationships. The PRS consisted of 45 items that assessed five dimensions of nine
ritual types (see Table 1 for a sample subscale from the PRS). Content for the PRS was based on
a qualitative study of marital rituals by Bruess and Pearson (1997). Nine of the twelve ritual
types identified by Bruess and Pearson (1997) were pertinent to premarital involvements:
enjoyable activities, intimacy expressions, togetherness rituals, communication rituals, favorites,
private codes, patterns/habits/mannerisms, escape episodes, and play rituals. Three were
excluded because they were less relevant to premarital involvements: routines and tasks,
spiritual rituals, and celebration rituals. The opportunity to partake in routine tasks may be
compromised because premarital involvements typically do not involve a shared residence that
Rituals and Commitment 9
would facilitate interaction on a regular daily basis. Both spiritual and celebration rituals were
considered less salient because occurrence was either infrequent or sporadic. Premarital
involvements are often shorter in duration than marital or family relationships and do not
encounter societal expectations and support for prescribed activities, which may jeopardize the
shared participation in spiritual rituals and celebration rituals.
The format of the PRS was adapted from the Family Rituals Questionnaire (FRQ; Fiese
& Kline, 1993). Fiese and Kline identified eight dimensions relevant to family rituals, five of
which pertained to premarital involvements: occurrence, repetitiveness, affect, meaning, and
deliberateness. Three were excluded: attendance, continuance, and roles. Rituals emerge in a
relationship as partners spend time together so attendance was necessary for rituals to occur in
the first place. Continuation was not relevant because premarital involvements do not span
generations. Finally, the roles dimension was redundant with the roles and patterns ritual type
described by Bruess and Pearson (1997).
Each of the 45 PRS items were measured on a 4-point Likert-type scale (1 = lowest score,
and 4 = highest score). The range of each participant’s summed rituals score was from 45-180.
The mean rituals score for the sample was 128, with a standard deviation of 21.5, and a median
of 129. The distribution was not significantly skewed (skewness = -.29, S.E. = .24) and it
approximated a normal distribution. Reliability analyses revealed acceptable coefficients for the
PRS. The Cronbach alpha for the overall PRS was 0.93. Internal consistency scores were
computed for the PRS subscales representing ritual type. Cronbach alphas were 0.74 for leisure,
0.48 for intimacy, 0.69 for couple time, 0.68 for communication, 0.78 for favorites, 0.80 for
private codes, 0.72 for roles, 0.68 for escape episodes, and 0.67 for play.
Rituals and Commitment 10
Commitment and the investment model variables (i.e., satisfaction level, quality of
alternatives, and investment size) were assessed using the Investment Model Scale (IMS). The
IMS is a self-report 37-item scale questionnaire consisting of four subscales (Rusbult et al.,
1998). Participants were asked to rate how well each question represents their thoughts or
feelings on a 9-point Likert-type scale with response options ranging from 0 to 8. The
commitment subscale consists of seven global items. The range of possible scores is from 0 to
56. The mean commitment level score was 44, with a standard deviation of 13.5, and a median of
48. The distribution was skewed (skewness = -1.39; SE = .24). The satisfaction, alternatives, and
investments subscales each consist of five items. The possible summed range of scores is from 0
to 40. The mean satisfaction level score was 32, with a standard deviation of 9.7, and a median of
35. The distribution was skewed (skewness = -1.8; SE = .24). The mean quality of alternatives
score was 14, with a standard deviation of 10, and a median of 13. The distribution approximated
a normal distribution (skewness = .70; SE = .24). The mean investment size score was 26.5, with
a standard deviation of 9.2, and a median of 29. The distribution approximated a normal
distribution (skewness = -.75; SE = .24). Although the distributions for satisfaction level and
commitment level were skewed, these findings are consistent with previous research (cf.,
Rusbult et al., 1998). The internal consistencies (i.e., Cronbach alpha scores) for the IMS were
high with a range from 0.86 (for investments) to 0.98 (for satisfaction). These results were also
comparable to research by Rusbult and her colleagues (1998).
Procedure. Participants were recruited from lower division courses at a large university
in western Canada. Classes were informed about the purpose of the study then surveys were
distributed and completed voluntarily outside of class. Surveys were returned at the following
class meeting. Participants were assured all responses would be anonymous and confidential.
Rituals and Commitment 11
Data analysis. Labovitz (1970; 1972) supported the use of interval statistics on ordinal-
level variables and it is common practice in work on the investment model by Rusbult and her
colleagues (1980b, 1983). Analyses were completed in four steps. First, sex differences were
examined using independent-groups t tests. Descriptive statistics, t values, and intercorrelations
between variables are displayed in Table 2. Second, main effects of rituals on commitment were
examined using simple linear regression. Third, the significance of rituals on commitment
controlling for the investment model variables was assessed with hierarchical multiple
regression. Finally, moderation was tested by following the procedures outlined by Baron and
Kenny (1986). Variables were standardized prior to the analyses (Aiken & West, 1991).
Commitment was initially regressed on each investment model variable and rituals. Then, an
interaction term (i.e., the product of the variables already entered) reflecting the two-way
interactions was entered at the second step of the equation to discern any moderating effects.
Moderation is indicated by a significant interaction term regardless of the effects measured in
previous steps.
No significant differences were noted between males and females so further
consideration was not necessary. Rituals were a significant predictor of commitment (B = 0.52,
F = 36.56, p <.001) accounting for 27% of the variance. However, rituals contribute no unique
variance to commitment when investment model variables are taken into account (see Table 3).
Table 4 shows the interaction effects of rituals and investment model variables on
commitment. For satisfaction, no interaction effect was found. However, the interaction effect
of investment size was significant, explaining 7% of the variance in commitment. Significant
interaction effects were also noted for the quality of alternatives, explaining 5% of the variance.
Rituals and Commitment 12
The simple slopes of the regression of significant investment model variables on
commitment at low and high values were computed to gain further perspective on two-way
interactions. Values one standard deviation above the mean were considered high and values
one standard deviation below the mean were considered low, which is standard for variables for
which there is no theoretical rationale for determining high and low values (Aiken & West,
For investment size, if participants reported low investment (i.e., below the mean), more
rituals predicted more commitment. Yet, when participants reported high investment, more
rituals also predicted more commitment though not as great (see Figure 1). On the other hand, if
participants reported high quality of alternatives (i.e., above the mean) or they perceived they
had more options than their current involvement, then more rituals predicted less commitment.
However, for participants who reported low quality of alternatives or few options to
involvement, more rituals predicted more commitment (see Figure 2).
Previous research has focused exclusively on marital and family relationships, neglecting
premarital involvements. This study extended previous research regarding rituals in marital and
family relationships to premarital involvements. Rituals in premarital involvements were a
significant predictor of commitment. An increase in rituals predicted commitment whereas
lower commitment was predicted by a decrease in rituals. These results provided a preliminary
indication of the import of rituals for premarital involvements in early adulthood.
The association between the investment model predictors and commitment replicated
previous research (Le & Agnew, 2003). Individuals who were more satisfied, invested more,
and perceived fewer alternatives to their relationships, reported more commitment. Yet the
Rituals and Commitment 13
results of this study indicated the association between investment size and quality of alternatives,
and commitment was moderated by rituals.
Rituals relation to commitment was not significant when satisfaction was considered.
Satisfaction seems to be a stronger predictor of commitment than rituals. The strong positive
relationship between satisfaction level and commitment appears to override the influence of
rituals. Satisfaction with a relationship may be a necessary condition for commitment regardless
of rituals.
The association between investment size and commitment was moderated by rituals. The
level of investment in the premarital involvements promoted commitment. This finding may be
explained if rituals are considered another form of investment. From this perspective, the
presence or absence of rituals was unimportant because if investments were high, the addition of
rituals would increase commitment as it would if investments were low. The fact that increases
in commitment were stronger when participants did not invest in their involvements may be due
to rituals making up for the lack of other investments.
Rituals change the relationship between the quality of alternatives and commitment. If
alternatives to the current relationship are high, then more rituals did not predict more
commitment. That is, low rituals did predict high commitment. On the other hand, if
alternatives are low, then more rituals fostered more commitment. When potential alternatives to
particular heterosexual involvements are better than remaining in it, more rituals may not
compensate for the difference. Yet, if the desirability of alternatives is low, more rituals
predicted more commitment. By definition, rituals emerge from and characterize the special
nature of particular involvements. Thus, rituals supplement the influence of alternatives on
Rituals and Commitment 14
Several factors may limit the interpretation of the current findings. The first limitation
concerns sample representativeness. Participants included college-age individuals who were
queried about premarital involvements. Only one member of any particular couple completed
the questionnaire so these findings are individual rather than dyadic effects. In future research,
diverse groups (e.g. nonheterosexual relationships, common law partnerships) and both partners
of a couple, including each partner’s perception of the others’ ritual enactment, could be
investigated. Second, the data reported were subject to the limitations of similar research
designs. The causal relations between rituals and commitment cannot be addressed. These and
other possible interpretations remain to be explored in subsequent studies. Nevertheless, several
notable strengths about the import of rituals in maintaining premarital relationships may be
drawn from the results.
Despite these limitations, this study is important for several reasons. First, it examined
how rituals are linked to commitment in premarital heterosexual involvements. Prior to this
study, the focus of research on rituals was on marital and family relationships. Previous studies
have described the constructive influence of marital and family rituals. The findings reported
here suggested that rituals are similarly associated with commitment in premarital involvements.
However, to be succinct, rituals in premarital involvements did not predict commitment beyond
the explanation accounted for by investment model variables.
A second contribution pertains to rituals moderation of the relationship between
investment model variables and commitment. Results from this study indicated that rituals
altered the prediction of commitment for investment size and quality of alternatives.
Rituals and Commitment 15
This study provided foundational information about rituals, investment model variables,
and commitment in premarital involvements. Building on these findings, future researchers are
left with exciting avenues for extending the literature on rituals in close relationships.
Rituals and Commitment 16
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Rituals and Commitment 23
Table 1: Sample subscale from the PRS
Examples of enjoyable rituals could include going out for dinner, playing sports, going to the
movies, going for walks, and participating in hobbies together.
Instructions: Think of typical enjoyable or recreational rituals in your relationship.
Circle ONE letter which best describes your current relationship.
Really Sort of Sort of Really
True True True True
1. A B We regularly engage in OR We rarely engage in C D
enjoyable activities in our enjoyable activities in
relationship. our relationship.
2. A B In our relationship OR In our relationship C D
everything about time enjoyable activities are
is scheduled; enjoyable flexible. We take part in
activities always occur them whenever we can.
at set times.
3. A B In our relationship OR In our relationship C D
we feel strongly about it is not that important
engaging in enjoyable if we engage in enjoyable
activities together. activities together.
4. A B In our relationship OR In our relationship C D
enjoyable activities enjoyable activities are
have a special meaning. just done to pass time.
5. A B In our relationship OR In our relationship C D
there is little planning enjoyable activities are
around enjoyable planned for in advance.
Note: In each subscale, one item was reverse scored so in the example above question 5 was
reversed scored.
Rituals and Commitment 24
Table 2: Descriptive statistics, t values, and intercorrelations
0.60 **
0.44 **
0.47 **
-0.50 **
-0.58 **
-0.59 **
0.52 **
0.78 **
0.67 **
** p < 0.01 level.
Rituals and Commitment 25
TABLE 3: Standardized regression coefficients for commitment: Main effects
Step 1
Step 2
Investment Model variables
Satisfaction (S)
Investments (I)
Alternatives (A)
0.48 ***
0.27 ***
-0.29 ***
0.50 ***
0.28 ***
-0.30 ***
Rituals (R)
Adjusted R2
F change
106.20 ***
79.48 ***
** p < .02, *** p < .001
Rituals and Commitment 26
TABLE 4: Standardized regression coefficients for moderating influences of rituals
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
0.78 ***
0.72 ***
0.91 **
Adjusted R2
F change
148.92 ***
0.67 ***
0.55 ***
2.06 ***
0.28 ***
1.00 ***
-1.95 ***
Adjusted R2
F change
81.04 ***
12.75 ***
16.86 ***
-0.73 ***
-0.63 ***
-1.79 ***
0.21 **
1.07 ***
Adjusted R2
F change
114.25 ***
7.42 **
12.36 ***
**p <.01, *** p < .001
Rituals and Commitment 27
Figure 1: Interaction of investment size and rituals on commitment
lo invest
hi invest
Rituals and Commitment 28
Figure 2: Interaction of alternatives and rituals on commitment
lo a lt
hi alt
... Family rituals are a symbolic form of communication performed by the family system in a formal, repetitive, and stereotyped manner (Fiese et al., 2002). According to Campbell and Ponzetti (2007), family rituals may derive from religious convictions or secular customs, but their origin is usually forgotten over time. Nevertheless, they have a crucial role as "special" experiences and interactions shared by the family members (Alarcão, 2000;Boss, 2002). ...
... Unlike other rituals, this one is seldom mentioned in the literature (e.g., anthropological, sociological, and psychological studies). However, the introduction of families serves one of family ritual functions by putting together the most important relatives from each side and strengthening the ties between the couple and their extended family (Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007;Crespo et al., 2013;Fiese et al., 2002;Hobson et al., 2018;Santos et al., 2015). The practice of this ritual may have arisen because of changes in family and social dynamics. ...
... The practice of the okupita pondje ritual in the family with a young child stage is consistent with the anthropological literature (Melo, 2005b). This ritual is seen as the first event of socialization that a child goes through, and it underlines the protective role of rituals during the transition to parenthood, helping to cope with the uncertainty and changes that occur in this stage of development (Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007;Hobson et al., 2018). Although such rituals were reported primarily by couples belonging to the Nyaneca group (Melo, 2005b), other ethnic groups also have performed naming rituals for newborns, but without the period of confinement required for Nyaneca babies. ...
Rituals and routines are fundamental parts of the family dynamic and contribute to its organization across generations. However, studies on these variables in the context of urban Southern Angolan families are scarce. Thus, this article aims to identify the rituals and routines that organize the development of families in urban Southern Angola through different life stages, using semistructured interviews with 20 professionals from various social fields and 25 couples. Despite some discrepancies between the views of the two groups, they both reported a set of rituals and routines relevant to the organization of the families’ life trajectories.
... Rituals serve profound functions for relational members: as organizing devices allowing for both stability and change (Pearson et al., 2010); as enactments for navigating competing ideals of marriage (Baxter & Braithwaite, 2002) and blending families (Braithwaite et al., 1998); as sites of intersectional identity negotiation and performance (Glass, 2014;Oswald, 2002); as safe spaces for LGBTQþ partners (Oswald & Masciadrelli, 2008); as devices through which bonds among family members are forged and solidarity reified (Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007;Smit, 2011); as transmissions and (re)enactments of family values, beliefs, and attitudes (Fiese et al., 2002); and as contributors to the physical and mental well-being of family members (Santos et al., 2018). ...
Framed by Wefulness Theory (WT; Nuru & Bruess, 2022), the present study explores the COVID-19 global pandemic as a context for examining relational struggle and strength during times of challenge. Analysis of in-depth, dyadic interviews with 54 couples who reflect a broad range of ethnic-racial compositions, partnership structures, sexual orientations, and ages rendered intelligible relational partners’ wefulness practices in situ. Results reveal four suprathemes: (a) cultivating relational consciousness, (b) negotiating wefulness amidst challenge, (c) accepting life on life’s terms, and (d) inviting challenge as opportunity for growth. Data reveal how relational partners engage in ritualized (re)commitments as multi-vocal practices of expressing and embracing the current pandemic moment. Data also evidenced WT is heuristically powerful in reconceptualizing and illuminating relational meaning- and sense-making.
... The partners' differing families of origin and respective upbringings represent exosystem examples that are directly relevant to the study of romantic love. As a result of early life experiences, partners bring values, beliefs, and practices into the relationship that must be negotiated for the partnership to function smoothly (Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007). Several chapters in the book address the macrosystem, including Diamond as well as Conley and coauthors, who discuss the sociocultural and political norms guiding who and how people love. ...
... . 이러한 의례는 발생 빈도, 역할, 융통성, 참여기대, 감정적 투 자, 상징적 의미, 지속성, 계획성으로 구성된다 (Wolin & Bennett, 1984 (Collins, 2004(Collins, , 2009 (Campbell & Ponzetti Jr, 2007). Wolin과 Bennett(1984) (Farrell et al., 2014;Pearson et al., 2011). ...
... A családok rituális tevékenységeit bemutató korábbi kutatások alapján néhány főbb megállapítás tehető a családi rítusok jellegzetességeiről és jelentőségéről. Ezek szerint a családi rítusok erősítik az egyéni elköteleződést a család irányában (Campbell-Ponzetti 2007;Kiser et al. 2005), továbbá elmondható, hogy a családi élet minősége jellemzően magasabb, ha vannak jól működő családi rítusok. Ezt igazolja Pearson és szerzőtársai (2010) vizsgálata, ami szerint a rendszeresen eltöltött közös időhöz kötődő rítusok megnövelik a kapcsolat minőségével való elégedettséget. ...
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The quality of family relationships and "the old way” of family life undergoes tremendous changes once young adult children leave home. After leaving the nest, young adults re-establish their family roles and family attachments, while adapt to their new roles in life. The study of family rituals gives a more detailed understanding of this adaptation process as rituals may serve as a connection between lifecycles, support continuity and reinforce family ties. Present study analyses the nest-leaving process from the young adults’ point of view with the help of qualitative research methodology and enriches the concept of Vaskovics (2000) on the process and dimensions of the detachment procedure. © 2017, Hungarian Sociological Association. All rights reserved.
The decision to marry is complex, often with seemingly innocuous events impacting a partner’s marriage eligibility. Engaging in rituals is one area where couples have the opportunity to see their partners in a new light as well as assess commitment. Although rituals have impactful roles in married couples, there is a dearth of research on ritual activity in dating couples. A qualitative approach was used to explore how rituals act as facilitators or barriers to commitment to wed using data from a random sample of dating couples in a diverse Southwestern region of the U.S. Results showed that celebration and tradition rituals played a contextual role in magnifying the importance of three normative relationship features: family interactions, relationship awareness, and conflict management. Experiencing these relationship features during a ritual time highlighted the uncertainty inherent in determining marriage eligibility with a current partner and enhanced the information gathering process.
Cambridge Core - Social Psychology - Intimate Relationships across Cultures - by Charles T. Hill
Purpose Recent global migration trends have led to an increased prevalence, and new patterning, of intercultural family configurations. This paper is about intercultural couples and how they manage tensions associated with change as they settle in their new cultural context. The focus is specifically on the role food plays in navigating these tensions and the effects on the couples’ relational cultures. Design/methodology/approach A qualitative relational–dialectic approach is taken for studying Polish–Irish intercultural couples. Engagement with relevant communities provided multiple points of access to informants. Findings Intercultural tensions arise as the couples jointly transition, and food consumption represents implicit tensions in the household’s relational culture. Such tensions are sometimes resolved, but sometimes not, leading to enduring tensions. Dialectical movement causes change, which has developmental consequences for the couples’ relational cultures. Research limitations/implications This study shows how the ways that tensions are addressed are fundamental to the formation of a relational family identity. Practical implications Recommendations emphasise the importance of understanding how the family relational culture develops in the creation of family food practices. Marketers can look at the ways of supporting the intercultural couple retain tradition, while smoothly navigating their new cultural context. Social policy analysts may reflect on the ways that the couples develop an intercultural identity rooted in each other’s culture, and the range of strategies to demonstrate they can synthesise and successfully negotiate the challenges they face. Originality/value Dealing simultaneously and separately with a variety of dialectical oppositions around food, intercultural couples weave together elements from each other’s cultures and simultaneously facilitate both relational and social change. Within the relationship, stability–change dialectic is experienced and negotiated, while at the relationship’s nexus with the couple’s social ecology, negotiating conventionality–uniqueness dialectic enables them reproduce or depart from societal conventions, and thus facilitate social change.
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In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
A fundamental assumption underlying the formation of our most important relationships is that they will persist indefinitely into the future. As an acquaintanceship turns into a friend­ ship, for example, both members of this newly formed interpersonal bond are likely to expect that their interactions will become increasingly frequent, diverse, and intimate over time. This expectation is perhaps most apparent in romantically involved couples who, through a variety of verbal and symbolic means, make explicit pledges to a long-lasting relationship. In either case, it is clear that these relationships represent something valuable to the individuals in­ volved and are pursued with great enthusiasm. Virtually all close relationships are formed within the context of mutually rewarding in­ teractions and/or strong physical attraction between partners. Friends and romantically in­ volved couples alike are drawn to one another because of similarity of attitudes, interests, and personality and, quite simply, because they enjoy one another's company. This enjoyment, cou­ pled with the novelty that characterizes new relationships, almost makes the continuation of the relationship a foregone conclusion. As relationships progress, however, their novelty fades, conflicts may arise between partners, negative life events may occur, and the satisfaction that previously characterized the relationships may diminish.
Survey data collected from 400 non-metropolitan gay men and lesbians were used to examine what factors lead them to attend a family-of-origin ritual and affect their sense of belonging during the event. The present study was inspired by qualitative findings regarding the production of outsider status during rituals. Attendance and belonging were both predicted by type of ritual and the quality of relationships with families of origin. Also, partners were more likely to be invited when the couple relationship was more visible, Residential community climate, age, income, and gender were not significant. The family membership complexities of gay and lesbian people are discussed, and a more nuanced understanding of membership during ritual is encouraged.
Used a longitudinal study of heterosexual dating relationships to test investment model predictions regarding the process by which satisfaction and commitment develop (or deteriorate) over time. Initially, 17 male and 17 female undergraduates, each of whom was involved in a heterosexual relationship of 0-8 wks duration, participated. Four Ss dropped out, and 10 Ss' relationships ended. Questionnaires were completed by Ss every 17 days. Increases over time in rewards led to corresponding increases in satisfaction, whereas variations in costs did not significantly affect satisfaction. Commitment increased because of increases in satisfaction, declines in the quality of available alternatives, and increases in investment size. Greater rewards also promoted increases in commitment to maintain relationships, whereas changes in costs generally had no impact on commitment. For stayers, rewards increased, costs rose slightly, satisfaction grew, alternative quality declined, investment size increased, and commitment grew; for leavers the reverse occurred. Ss whose partners ended their relationships evidenced entrapment: They showed relatively low increases in satisfaction, but their alternatives declined in quality and they continued to invest heavily in their relationships. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
As a construct of psychological relevance, commitment has for some time been the focus of numerous programs of research, including explorations in decision making (Edwards, 1954; Festinger, 1957), deviation, and conformity in group settings (Kiesler & Corbin, 1965; Kiesler & Kiesler, 1969; Kiesler, Zanna, & De Salvo, 1966); the maintenance of costly courses of action (Staw, 1976, 1981; Staw & Fox, 1977); and job turnover (Aranya & Jacobson, 1975; Grusky, 1966; Porter, Crampon, & Smith, 1976). However, the examination of commitment specifically within the context of close relationships is a relatively recent development, with most theoretical treatments of the construct emerging after 1965 and most empirical studies being published after 1980. Given the relatively long history of research on interpersonal relationships, it is somewhat perplexing that the critical examination of commitment has been so late in coming to this area.
Organization of the family system at two points in early parenthood was examined through the study of family rituals. Fifty-four couples whose oldest child was 12 months of age or less and sixty-one couples whose oldest child was between 24 and 66 months of age participated in the study. Family rituals were assessed through the Family Ritual Questionnaire and couple interviews. Marital satisfaction was assessed through the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. As predicted, the preschool family group reported the practice of more family rituals and ascribed more meaning to their family rituals than did the infant family group. Significant main effects for group and family ritual meaning were found for mothers' and fathers' marital satisfaction. The protective function of family rituals for marital satisfaction was examined through cluster analyses. Preschool families who reported more meaningful family rituals also reported more marital satisfaction.
Ritual performances in the areas of everyday routines, family traditions, and family celebrations provide opportunities for remarried families to define family membership on the levels of the immediate stepfamily, the binuclear family, and the remarried family suprasystem. A review of research on remarried kinship networks is used to discuss functional and dysfunctional patterns of inclusion or exclusion of potential family members at each level. An association is suggested between coparent relationship style and expanded or contracted kinship patterns. Examples from a small clinical study of remarried families illustrate the operationalization of these patterns around holiday celebrations.
This paper presents a framework for studying and analyzing wedding symbolisms, rituals, and pageantry. Students in high school and university marriage classes have found this information to provide a provocative foundation for developing their own wedding vows and rituals. This process encourages open and honest communication between prospective marriage partners. Composing their own wedding vows and consciously selecting rituals with specific symbolisms in mind also fosters realistic expectations of self, the marriage partner, and the marriage relationship.