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Rituals in Committed Romantic Relationships: The Creation and Validation of an Instrument

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Rituals are widely studied in interpersonal communication research, but no instrument for assessing the preceived use of rituals among couples in committed romantic relationships exists. The purpose of this investigation was to create and validate such a measure (Rituals in Committed Romantic Relationships; RCRR). Five-hundred-sixty individuals in committed romantic relationships responded to a 50-item questionnaire that measured 5 sets of rituals pertaining to daily routines and tasks, idiosyncratic behavior, everyday talk, intimacy, and couple-time. In addition, they completed measures of perceived relational quality and perceived relational intimacy. Multiple analyses supported a 5-factor model consisting of 30 of the original 50 items. Perceived use of rituals was predictive of alterations in both perceived relational quality and perceived relational intimacy.
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Rituals in Committed Romantic
Relationships: The Creation and
Validation of an Instrument
Judy C. Pearson, Jeffrey T. Child, & Anna F. Carmon
Rituals are widely studied in interpersonal communication research, but no instrument
for assessing the preceived use of rituals among couples in committed romantic relation-
ships exists. The purpose of this investigation was to create and validate such a measure
(Rituals in Committed Romantic Relationships; RCRR). Five-hundred-sixty individuals
in committed romantic relationships responded to a 50-item questionnaire that measured
5 sets of rituals pertaining to daily routines and tasks, idiosyncratic behavior, everyday talk,
intimacy, and couple-time. In addition, they completed measures of perceived relational
quality and perceived relational intimacy. Multiple analyses supported a 5-factor model
consisting of 30 of the original 50 items. Perceived use of rituals was predictive of
alterations in both perceived relational quality and perceived relational intimacy.
Keywords: Committed Romantic Relationships; Relational Intimacy;
Relational Quality; Rituals
Rituals are viewed as central to our understanding of interpersonal communication
within relationships (e.g., Braithwaite & Baxter, 1995; Bruess & Pearson, 1997, 2002;
Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007; Fiese, 2006). Rituals are an essential type of everyday,
lived communicative behavior, beneficial to the development and maintenance of
interpersonal relationships. In other words, they may be illustrative of the couple’s
Judy C. Pearson (PhD, Indiana University) is Professor and Associate Dean at North Dakota State University;
Jeffrey T. Child (PhD, North Dakota State University) is Assistant Professor at Kent State University; Anna F.
Carmon (PhD, North Dakota State University) is Assistant Professor at Indiana University–Purdue University
Columbus. Correspondence to: Judy C. Pearson, Professor and Associate Dean, North Dakota State Univer-
sity, Dean’s Office, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, P.O. Box 5075, North Dakota State
University, Fargo, ND 58105-5075, U.S.A. E-mail: Judy.Pearson@ndsu.edu
Communication Studies
Vol. 61, No. 4, September–October 2010, pp. 464–483
ISSN 1051-0974 (print)/ISSN 1745-1035 (online) # 2010 Central States Communication Association
DOI: 10.1080/10510974.2010.492339
Downloaded By: [Child, Jeffrey] At: 03:07 26 August 2010
microculture and, at the same time, predictive of positive or negative relational
outcomes. Rituals are highly personalized and specific to the individuals who enact
them. Rituals aid in the creation of a unique culture of two, which allows for the
possibility of generating positive individualized patterns of interactions and strong,
enduring relational bonds.
The types, forms, and functions of rituals in relationships have been delineated
(i.e., Braithwaite & Baxter, 1995; Bruess & Pearson, 1997), but no measure has been
developed to capture perceived ritual use among couples in committed romantic
relationships. The purpose of this study is to build upon past research to create such
an instrument and to determine the relationship between the perceived use of rituals
and two essential relational outcomesrelational quality and relational intimacy. In
making the case for a measure of rituals, we turn to the previous scholarship about
the importance of rituals within committed romantic relationships.
Related Scholarship
Rituals
The concept of ‘‘ritual’’ has been defined in multiple ways but generally refers to
behavior jointly enacted and shared by relational partners (Wolin & Bennett,
1984). Baxter and Braithwaite (2006) define rituals as ‘‘voluntary, recurring,
patterned communication event[s] whose jointly enacted performance by family
members pays homage to what they regard as sacred, thereby producing and repro-
ducing a family’s identity and its web of social relations’’ (pp. 262–263). Although
rituals are defined in a variety of ways, all encompass their recurring nature, the role
of communication, and the need to honor someone or something.
Rituals have two distinguishing characteristics: routine behavior and the associated
meaning for that behavior (Fiese, 2006). Routine behavior occurs in both intimate and
nonintimate settings. For example, people perform routines to manage biological func-
tioning, to earn money, and to participate in civic life. Further, patterned interactions
are often considered routine in nature. While routines and patterned interactions are
necessary for relational functioning and relational maintenance, the symbolic nature of
rituals affects relationships in ways that routines cannot. When routines are disrupted,
people may feel a bit of discomfort; when rituals are disregarded, people may feel that
the relationship is in jeopardy, or at least, in need of repair.
Routines become rituals only when they acquire symbolic meaning (Baxter &
Braithwaite, 2006; Bruess & Pearson, 1997, 2002). Indeed, this element of attendant
symbolic significance is of utmost importance. Therefore, routine behavior is not
considered a ritual unless it has relational implications for the individuals involved.
Rituals, through their symbolism, signal membership in a culture, an organization, or
a relationship (C. Bell, 1997). These two elements of rituals are central to the
development of a scale to measure rituals in committed romantic relationships.
Rituals are organizing devices that order our lives and allow for both continuity
and change. They are not only of symbolic value but are also rooted in action. Rituals
embody dialectical tensions as they reflect the past and shape the future. The
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symbolic nature of rituals takes human action to a level of consciousness. They
are practical and have a level of utility that can be described and defined. Indeed,
rituals are powerful in their promise of effecting change (Baxter & Braithwaite,
2006; Bruess & Pearson, 1997, 2002).
Interpersonal Rituals
Rituals are particularly salient in interpersonal relationships. Reiss (1981) suggests
that rituals serve to maintain family integration and coherence and, further, that
families could be defined by their use of rituals over time. Wolin and Bennett
(1984) note that ritual enactment has three key properties: transformation, com-
munication, and stabilization. The enactment of rituals is transformative. In families,
they allow members to abandon everyday routines temporarily and to focus on their
family identities. Rituals are communicative and generally evoke strong emotional
reactions among family members. They also have a stabilizing property in that
they protect families from crises. For example, when an aging grandfather with
Alzheimer’s disease calls multiple people the pet name he had reserved for only
one, family members may respond viscerally. They may feel that they, or he, are
no longer in the familial relationship. The meaningfulness of the pet name has sig-
nificance, even though the other family members recognize that the grandfather is ill.
Although rituals have been widely studied in families, relevant research in other
types of interpersonal relationships is scant. ‘‘Dyadic traditions’’ (Oring, 1984),
playful rituals (Betcher, 1987; Oring, 1984), and interaction routines (Baxter, 1987;
Dindia & Baxter, 1987) demonstrate the importance of rituals in other relationships,
such as friendships and between romantic partners. Rituals facilitate people’s shared
understanding of experiences, symbolize intimacy and create a shared sense of the
relationship (Oring, 1984). Oring’s conclusions, however, are derived solely from
personal anecdotes. One exception is a study of divorced women and married women
in successful marriages that demonstrated a broad range of rituals (Berg-Cross,
Daniels, & Carr, 1992). In addition, Bruess and Pearson (1997, 2002) examined
interpersonal rituals in marriage and adult friendship and concluded: ‘‘Rituals are
prevalent in forms of relational functioning and maintenance in two of the most
intimate relationships’’ (2002, p. 41).
Bruess and Pearson (1997) uncovered seven types of rituals for married couples:
couple-time rituals, idiosyncratic=symbolic rituals, daily routines and tasks, expres-
sions of intimacy, communication (or everyday talk) rituals, patterns=habits=
mannerisms, and spiritual rituals. Couple-time rituals represent instances in which
individuals have created traditions with the primary goal of spending time together.
Idiosyncratic rituals focus on a wide range of events including birthday celebrations
and unique traditions. Idiosyncratic rituals highlight specific events, whereas
couple-time rituals privilege the ongoing nature and time commitment that occurs.
Bruess and Pearson identified meaningful interactions between relational partners as
communication rituals. We utilized the term ‘‘everyday talk’’ (Duck, Rutt, Hoy, &
Strejc, 1991) to denote rituals about the use of special language between relational
466 J. C. Pearson et al.
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partners. As such, communication, or everyday talk rituals, focuses on couples’
adaptations to their communication patterns, language, and interactions with one
another. Therefore, this type of ritual draws attention to how language creates
relational uniqueness. Couples who create rituals around daily routines and tasks find
ways to collaborate in order to accomplish everyday work, such as preparing meals,
despite the fact that these activities could be characteristically mundane. Finally,
intimacy rituals highlight how couples create unique traditions around sexual
intercourse and affectionate behaviors.
Overall, romantic couples and friends demonstrated different frequencies of ritual
use, reflected by the differences in the relationship type (Bruess & Pearson, 1997,
2002). The larger number of rituals among romantic partners may occur given the
permanence, importance, and depth of the relationship. Although the authors have
enhanced our understanding of rituals in marriage and friendships, systematic
research is lacking related to other committed romantic relationships, including
people in cohabiting and unmarried relationships.
Importance of studying interpersonal rituals
As important sites of relational understanding, rituals help us see interpersonal
relationships as microcultures, in which relational identities are produced through
symbolic enactments and reenactments (Baxter, 1987; McCall, 1988). Romantic rela-
tionships in the present study are microcultures, or cultures of two, in which relational
identities are products of symbolic enactments within the relationship (Baxter, 1987;
McCall, 1988). This perspective assumes that unique relational identities develop and
persist through the symbolic practices of the partners (Baxter, 1990). An individual
who has been in more than one romantic relationship will not recreate the same rela-
tional culture of the first relationship in a second, third, or subsequent relationship.
Symbolic enactments, such as idiomatic expressions, co-constructed stories, and
traditions are manifestations of relational cultures (Bruess & Pearson, 1993; Hest,
Pearson, & Child, 2006; Koenig Kellas, 2005). Rituals, as relational symbols, are also
manifestations of unique communicative systems (R. A. Bell & Healey, 1992; Betcher,
1987; Bruess & Pearson, 1993, 1997).
Rituals, for researchers, are a valuable resource for understanding the communi-
cative processes that embody relationships. Ritualized interactions provide an essen-
tial starting point for understanding committed romantic relationships. Studying
rituals, as Braithwaite (1995) has observed, ‘‘allows us to focus on both the everyday
and nonusual aspects of communication in relational life’’ (p. 2). To date, however, a
complete understanding of the development and enactment of rituals, as unique
communicative practices, beyond the family is lacking.
Understanding rituals is also important because their presence ostensibly relates to
relational maintenance and relational satisfaction. Interpersonal rituals are central to
the maintenance of relationships (Dainton, 2007; Dainton & Stafford, 1993; Dindia &
Canary, 1993; Fiese et al., 2002). As Dindia (2003) observes, ‘‘Similar to routine
behaviors are rituals that function to maintain relationships’’ (p. 17). Dindia and
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Canary posit that relational maintenance behaviors are critical to understanding
relationships because they keep a relationship in a particular state or position. Rituals
are also significant in respect to the well-being of personal and social relationships
(Baxter, 1987; Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007; Oring, 1984). People in relationships
develop a sense of belonging as they enact rituals. The use of rituals has a general
effect on relational health. Holiday rituals, a specific type of ritual, demonstrate a
global relationship to marital satisfaction (Fiese & Tomcho, 2001). Overall, couples
are more relationally satisfied as they allow rituals to take precedence in their
relationships (Duck, 1991).
Rituals change as relationships change
Relationships and rituals change over time. As individuals initiate relationships,
choose to deepen or strengthen those relationships and make commitments to each
other, their behavior changes (Dainton, 2007; Dainton & Stafford, 1993; Dindia &
Canary, 1993). For instance, at the beginning of relationships, men tend to be more
active and focus on sexual intimacy, whereas women tend to be more passive and
focus on communicating with their partners (Clark, Shaver, & Abrahams, 1999).
As relationships progress, a couple is likely to experiment with rituals, to adopt
particular symbolic and repetitive behaviors, and to alter those rituals. As successful
relationships emerge and develop (Knee, 1998), it seems likely that couples create
new rituals and alter or eliminate those that no longer seem to be compatible aspects
of relationships. Indeed, successful long-term relationships are marked by adaptation.
For example, Leon and Jacobvitz (2003) determined that secure adults take part
in meaningful, flexible rituals
Rituals contribute to the health and well-being of relationships among family
members, friends, and relational partners (Baxter, 1987; Campbell & Ponzetti,
2007; Oring, 1984). Thus, in an effort to demonstrate convergent and divergent
validity with our measure of perceived ritual use, we utilized scales of perceived
relational quality and perceived relational intimacy. These two well-researched out-
comes are important as relational quality measures a combination of satisfaction,
commitment, intimacy, trust, passion, and love, while relational intimacy is a global
assessment of the closeness of a relationship. Because of the positive effects of rituals
on romantic and family relationships, it seems likely that the perceived use of rituals
in committed, romantic relationships will be positively related to perceptions of
relational quality and relational intimacy.
Perceived Relational Quality
Relational quality is a perceptual construct. All individuals have an ideal set of
relational standards by which they judge their relationships (Baucom, Epstein,
Sayers, & Sher, 1989). Relational standards are the guidelines individuals have for
how relationships should ideally be (Baucom et al., 1996). Individuals develop such
standards not only on the basis of their experiences in their families but also their
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experiences in other relationships. People judge their relationships positively, thus
positive perceptions of relational quality, when their standards match their percep-
tions of their relationships (Baucom et al., 1989, 1996; Fletcher, Simpson, & Thomas,
2000; Lutz-Zois, Bradley, Mihalik, & Moorman-Eavers, 2006).
Perceptions of commitment, trust, love, satisfaction, intimacy, and passion in
one’s relationship appear to influence relational quality (Fletcher et al., 2000).
Relational quality is a ‘‘natural outcome of pro-social relationship maintenance
strategies’’ (Yum & Li, 2007, p. 80) and is relatively stable. Therefore, it seems likely
that as ritual use has been found to be crucial to relationship maintenance (Bruess &
Pearson, 2002; Dainton, 2007; Dainton & Stafford, 1993; Dindia & Canary, 1993),
they will also be related to perceptions of relational quality.
When individuals experience high levels of relational quality, negative experiences
have little impact on their relationships (Bachman & Guerrero, 2006). Rituals would
seem to have a similar effect as they are often used in families to soften potentially
negative experiences and family stressors (Fiese, 1992, 1993). The concept of
relational quality has helped investigators to understand and predict responses to
hurtful events in relationships (Bachman & Guerrero, 2006) and how forgiveness
is manifested (Friesen, Fletcher, & Overall, 2005).
Perceived use of rituals, like the perceptions of increased relational quality, affect
romantic relationships in similar ways in that they may mitigate negative experiences.
Further, the use of rituals have been linked to increased perceptions of both marital
and relational satisfaction (Duck, 1991; Fiese & Tomcho, 2001). Rituals allow roman-
tic partners to develop mutual commitment, trust, and liking. Accordingly:
H1: Perceived use of rituals among individuals in committed romantic
relationships is positively related to relational quality.
Perceived Relational Intimacy
Rituals have the potential to enhance intimacy in romantic relationships. Intimacy in
romantic relationships includes sexual feelings, but also the affective union between
two individuals based upon trust (Radmacher & Azmitia, 2006; Sternberg, 1997).
Individuals in intimate relationships generally have an extensive history and an
anticipated future (Hinde, 1979). Self-disclosure and the exclusive sharing of activity
and information are essential to the formation and maintenance of intimate relation-
ships (Altman & Taylor, 1973; Jourard, 1971). As rituals provide opportunities
for relief from daily routines and for communication between relational partners
(Wolin & Bennett, 1984), it seems likely through their enactment relational partners
would become emotionally close, developing increased perceptions of relational
intimacy. Further, as individuals share feelings and information with each other, per-
ceptions of validation and caring also result in perceived relational intimacy (Hook,
Gerstein, Detterich, & Gridley, 2003).
As romantic partners disclose private information to each other, the amount and
quality of time a couple spends together further affects their perceptions of closeness
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and intimacy (Emmers-Sommer, 2004). Rituals, particularly couple-time and
idiosyncratic rituals, not only allow individuals to spend time together but also to
highlight the ongoing nature of their relationships (Bruess & Pearson, 1997). Smooth
interactions, free of conflict and communication breakdown, contribute to
more satisfying and intimate relationships. As intimacy is based upon mutuality
and reciprocity, feelings of intimacy depend upon an equal balance of power between
romantic partners (Rosenbluth & Steil, 1995).
Rituals develop in intimate relationships as partners reflect on their history and
anticipate their future together. Rituals allow them to view their relationships with
a past, present, and future. Trust is engendered when partners create meaningful
rituals. Relational interactions may become ritualized as partners experiment with
disclosing information differently during diverse shared activities. Finally, shared
rituals encourage predictable and smooth interactions. Hence:
H2: Perceived use of rituals among individuals in committed romantic
relationships is positively related to perceived relational intimacy.
H3: Perceived relational intimacy among individuals in committed romantic
relationships is positively related to relational quality.
Method
Participants
Individuals currently in a committed romantic relationship (defined as such through
either marriage or cohabitation) comprised the sample of the study. To be eligible for
the study, participants needed to live together in the same household with their
relational partner. Overall, 560 individuals in committed romantic relationships
completed the survey. Not all participants reported on demographics, thus, the
information is for participants who responded to each demographic question.
From the sample, 199 participants (35%) were male, 358 (64%) were female. They
varied in age with 159 (29%) 18–25 years old, 151 (27%) 26–35 years old, 95 (17%)
36–45 years old, 108 (19%) 46–55 years old, and 45 (8%) 56 or older. Most parti-
cipants identified their ethnicity as White=Caucasian (513 participants, 92%). In
respect to their current relational status, 369 individuals (67%) were married whereas
182 individuals (33%) were cohabitating. When asked how many times they had been
married, 163 (30%) indicated never, 337 participants (62%) had been married once,
42 individuals (8%) twice, and 6 individuals (1%) three or more times. Length of
marriage varied as follows: a year or less (42 participants, 10%), 2 to 5 years (113
participants, 27%), 6 to 10 years (65 participants, 15%), and 16 years or more
(144 participants, 34%). In the sample, 276 individuals (51%) had children whereas
268 individuals (49%) did not. Of those participants who were parents, the average
age of their children was 15 (M ¼ 15.10; SD ¼ 11.35) with 67 (25%) having only one
child, 114 individuals (42%) having two, 54 individuals (20%) three, 28 individuals
(10%) four, and 9 individuals (3%) five or more.
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Procedures
Two data collections occurred. The first involved a snowball-sampling technique to
distribute the survey to individuals in committed romantic relationships. Communi-
cation students at a midsized Midwestern university received survey packets to
distribute to individuals they knew in committed romantic relationships, through
either cohabitation or marriage. Each packet contained instructions, an informed
consent form, a survey, and a self-addressed stamped envelope for returning the
survey. In preparing participants for the statements about rituals, a distinction was
made between rituals and reoccurring routines.
Second, an online survey was used. With the online survey, participants in
committed romantic relationships were directly solicited rather than indirectly
obtained through use of undergraduate student carriers. Directions to participants
were identical in both methods. An invitation to participate in the research project
was solicited via the National Communication Association listserv. From the sample,
343 individuals (61%) completed the study through student carriers in a paper and
pencil format and 217 individuals (39%) completed the study directly online.
Because scale development was the primary purpose of this study, several steps
were taken to prepare for administration of the survey. Ten items for each of the five
primary ritual types were developed from Bruess and Pearson’s (1997) study of
rituals (couple-time rituals, everyday talk rituals, idiosyncratic rituals, daily routines
and tasks, and intimacy expressions). Given that spiritual rituals (2.5%, n ¼ 17) and
patterns=habits=mannerisms rituals (5%, n ¼ 38) were infrequent in Bruess and
Pearson’s original sample, they were excluded to provide for a more global and
parsimonious conceptualization of rituals in committed romantic relationships.
Constructing the 10 items for each ritual type entailed the use of examples from
Bruess and Pearson’s original work, increasing the face validity of the items. The face
validity and relevance of all statements in the item pool were assessed by evaluating
their consistency, clarity, and completeness to the intended construct of rituals in
committed romantic relationships (see DeVellis, 2003). Once the surveys were
collected, the factor structure, estimated reliability, and validity were determined
via confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), Cronbach’s alpha, and structural equation
models (Pedhazur & Schmelkin, 1991; Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001).
Measures
Perceived use of rituals in committed romantic relationships
The measure of perceived use of rituals in committed romantic relationships
consisted of participants’ responses to 50 items in five general areas: daily routines
and tasks, idiosyncratic rituals, everyday talk rituals, intimacy expressions, and
couple-time rituals. Two questions for each ritual type were negatively worded to
provide a check for consistency of participant responses, such as, ‘‘There is a strain
on our relationship when we do not spend time together as a couple’’ or ‘‘Our
relationship suffers because of a lack of established communication routines.’’
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Responses to the questions were on a 5-point scale ranging from ‘‘strongly disagree’’
to ‘‘strongly agree.’’ All items served as indicators of the degree to which rituals were
evident and utilized within the committed romantic relationship. Higher scores indi-
cate greater perceived ritual use. The overall scale maintained excellent reliability
(a ¼ .85).
Relational quality
The measure of perceived relational quality was developed, tested and validated by
Fletcher et al. (2000). It indexes an individual’s overall relationship strength via
responses to 18 questions in six subdimensions: satisfaction, commitment, intimacy,
trust, passion, and love. Items included such questions as ‘‘How dependable is your
partner?,’’ ‘‘How much do you love your partner?,’’ and ‘‘How sexually intense is
your relationship?’’ Responses were on a 5-point scale ranging from ‘‘not at all’’ to
‘‘extremely.’’ The measure has undergone extensive validity and reliability testing
via CFA techniques (see Fletcher et al., 2000; Lutz-Zois et al., 2006). In previous
research (a .85; Fletcher, 2000) and among participants in the current study, the
measure showed high estimated reliability (a ¼ .96; M ¼ 4.27; SD ¼ .67).
Relational intimacy
The measure of perceived relational intimacy consisted of the responses to 14 items,
each on a 5-point scale. The measure was developed by Roloff et al. (1988) and
included such relational characteristics as ‘‘superficial-intense,’’ ‘‘undesirable-
desirable,’’ and ‘‘uncaring-caring.’’ The scale has been high in estimated reliability
(a ¼ .86; Roloff et al., 1988), which was also the case in the current investigation
(a ¼ .87; M ¼ 3.98; SD ¼ .57).
Manipulation Checks
Given the two different methods of data collection (paper and pencil survey and
online survey), differences were examined in all of the variables of central interest
to the study. Overall, the perceived rituals in committed romantic relationships
measure was not significantly different by method of collection, t(542) ¼ 1.22,
p ¼ .12. Similarly, relational quality, t(552) ¼ .28, p ¼ .78, and relational intimacy,
t(552) ¼ 1.42, p ¼ .15, were also not significantly different by method of collection.
Potential differences of these same variables were explored by relational status
(married or cohabitating). Overall ritual strength was not significantly different
by relational status, t(533) ¼1.19, p ¼ .23. Furthermore, relational quality,
t(543) ¼.57, p ¼ .57, and relational intimacy, t(543) ¼ 1.32, p ¼ .19, were not
significantly different among either married or cohabitating couples. Given the lack
of significance of all of these variables, the two subsamples were combined in one
overall sample for the analysis.
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Results
Rituals in Committed Romantic Relationship Instrument Development
The 10 items for each of the five distinct types of rituals were examined by computing
Cronbach’s alpha for each type of ritual. Low correlating items were eliminated,
which resulted in more reliable and parsimonious measures. Overall, 20 items from
the initial 50 were eliminated. Next, CFA techniques were used to test the measure-
ment model and to assess the validity of a five-factor versus a one-factor model for
the Rituals in Committed Romantic Relationship (RCRR) measure. The five-factor
model incorporated items for the five distinct types of rituals (couple-time rituals,
everyday talk rituals, idiosyncratic rituals, daily routines and tasks, and intimacy
expressions). Each CFA model includes goodness-of-fit statistics with maximum like-
lihood standardized estimates. The results of the global tests of the models appear in
Table 1. In assessing the goodness of fit of each hypothesized model to actual data, we
examined several of the model fit estimates, including the v
2
goodness of fit, the v
2
to
degrees of freedom ratio, the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), the
Table 1 Fit Indicator Summaries for the Rituals in Committed Romantic Relationships
Measure (RCRR)
Models v
2
df p v
2
=df RMSEA GFI AGFI CFI
RCRR scale development
1. RCRR as a one-factor model 3394.53 405 <.05 8.38 .12 .71 .67 .86
2. RCRR as a five-factor,
uncorrelated model
2775.75 405 <.05 6.85 .10 .75 .71 .86
3. RCRR as a five-factor,
correlated model
1568.70 395 <.05 3.97 .07 84 81 .93
4. Final RCRR as a five-factor
model
a
1156.59 392 <.05 2.95 .06 .93 .90 .95
Measurement model
5. RCRR, relational quality, and
relational intimacy
a
1791.74 678 <.05 2.64 .05 .93 .91 .97
Structural models
6. Initial model predicting
relational quality and
intimacy
a
1891.64 678 <.05 2.79 .05 .92 .90 .96
7. Final model predicting
relational quality and
intimacy
a
1802.65 682 <.05 2.64 .05 .92 .90 .96
Note. RMSEA ¼ root mean square error of approximation; GFI ¼ goodness of fit index; AGFI ¼ adjusted
goodness of fit index; CFI ¼ comparative fit index.
a
Three error variance terms for specific ritual items were allowed to correlate (Idiosyncratic item 2 with Idio-
syncratic item 3; Idiosyncratic item 5 with Idiosyncratic item 6; and Intimacy item 1 with Intimacy item 2).
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goodness of fit index (GFI), the adjusted goodness of fit index (AGFI), and the
comparative fit index (CFI).
A one-factor model where all 30 items of the RCRR measure loaded onto one
latent construct showed poor fit with the RMSEA above .10 and the GFI, AGFI,
and CFI well below .90 (see Table 1). A five-factor model consistent with previous
research on rituals (Bruess & Pearson, 1997, 2002), in which the five factors were
orthogonal revealed a significant improvement, v
2
difference
¼ 618.78, df ¼ 1, p < .01;
however, it was only marginal and still demonstrated poor fit (see Table 1). A third
model was the same as the second model, except that all of the first-order factors
were correlated. This model was also a significant improvement over the first,
v
2
difference
¼ 1825.83, df ¼ 10, p < .01, and it demonstrated a good fit to the data in
the hypothesized model (see Table 1). Each of the five types of rituals was
significantly and positively related to each other.
In the final model, the disturbance terms for one set of items in each of the three
factors were allowed to correlate (Bollen, 1989; Byrne, 1998) because the questions
were closely worded to each other or a direct inverse of each other. Error disturbance
terms for highly dissimilar items were not allowed to correlate because of the lack of
either a theoretical or a rational justification for allowing the correlation (Bollen,
1989; Byrne, 1998; Kline, 2005). Allowing three error disturbance terms to correlate
significantly improved the fit of the correlated three-factor model to the first model,
v
2
difference
¼ 2237.94, df ¼ 13, p < .01. Overall, these results support the correlated
five-factor structure of the RCRR measure highlighted in the final model as the best
fitting model. Table 2 shows the final 30 items comprising the scale, the global
reliability (alpha) for the scale, and the estimated reliability for each individual
dimension. Table 3 contains the correlation coefficients, means, and standard
deviations for each dimension or type of ritual for the final model.
1
Structural Equation Model with Ritual Use, Relational Quality, and
Relational Intimacy
The primary goal of the structural equation modeling was to test the relationship
between different types of perceived ritual use in committed romantic relationships
and their ostensible impact on perceived relational quality and relational intimacy.
2
Prior to estimating the full model, a final structural equation measurement model
was specified with all of the independent and dependent measures. In the measure-
ment model, all of the first-order factors (five types of rituals, relational quality, and
relational intimacy) were allowed to correlate. In specifying the model, we followed
the recommendation of Little, Cunningham, Shahar, and Widaman (2002) and
utilized parcels for the two dependent variables in order to reduce the number of
indicators, make the model more parsimonious and reduce concerns about power.
A parcel is ‘‘an aggregate-level indicator comprised of the sum (or average) of two
or more items’’ (Little et al., 2002, p. 152). Given that 18 items comprise the
relational quality measure with three items for each of the six subdimensions, each
subdimension was constituted as a parcel. For the relational intimacy measure,
474 J. C. Pearson et al.
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Table 2 Items and Reliability Estimates for the Rituals in Committed Romantic
Relationships Measure
Dimension and
reliability Ritual items (overall scale a ¼ .85)
Couple-time
rituals
(a ¼ .81)
1. Regardless of the activity, we make time to be together.
2. We make time as a couple to get away from everyday routines and
pressures.
3. As a couple, we engage in leisure activities.
4. An important part of our relationship involves the activities we do together.
5. Our relationship is stronger because of the time we spend together.
6. Within our relationship, we create routines around recreation outings.
Everyday talk
rituals
(a ¼ .69)
1. As a couple, we use language only we understand.
2. The use of unique words characterizes our relationship.
3. We have patterns for how we verbally express our love for each other.
4. We have established routines for when we communicate.
5. We have established a pattern for having heart-to-heart discussions.
Idiosyncratic
rituals
(a ¼ .73)
1. Our relationship is stronger because of unique traditions we have
established.
2. Our interactions as a couple are not playful.
3. We tease each other in a playful manner.
4. In our relationship, we have favorite activities we enjoy engaging in
together.
5. We do not have favorite activities we like doing as a couple.
6. We have traditions for memorable moments in our relationship.
7. We celebrate special events in our relationship.
Daily routines
and tasks
(a ¼ .76)
1. Our relationship is stronger because of established daily routines and tasks.
2. We have routines geared toward accomplishing everyday tasks.
3. As a couple, we share certain meals during the day.
4. We have a routine for preparing meals.
5. Our relationship is more important because we do daily routines and tasks
together as a couple.
6. We do not have a routine, as a couple, for tasks related to the end of
the day.
Intimacy rituals
(a ¼ .68)
1. We have a routine for when we engage in sexual intercourse.
2. As a couple, we have a pattern for how often we engage in sexual
intercourse.
3. We do not have routines for setting the mood before sexual encounters.
4. We have rituals for the way we engage in intimate displays of affection.
5. Intimacy routines are important to the functioning of our relationship.
6. Intimacy rituals do not increase the strength of our relationship.
Note. Items were mixed and were not grouped together by similar subject on the survey.
Denotes the item has been recoded (reverse-scored).
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random subsets of items were grouped to form three parcels. Table 4 shows intercor-
relations, descriptive statistics, and items associated with each parcel for the measure-
ment model. The measurement model with the parcels for the dependent variables
revealed an acceptable model fit with the RMSEA at .05 and the GFI, AGFI, and
CFI above .90 (the fifth model is summarized in Table 1).
The initial hypothesized model (see Figure 1) demonstrated an acceptable level of
fit of the data to the model (see the sixth model summarized in Table 1). In light of
the acceptable fit of the data to this preliminary structural model, nonsignificant
paths were sequentially removed until only significant paths remained in the model
(see Figure 2). The four paths removed (intimacy rituals to relational intimacy,
intimacy rituals to relational quality, daily routine rituals to relational quality, and
Table 3 Correlation Matrix, Means, and Standard Deviations for Each Type of Ritual
Variables 12345
1. Couple-time rituals
2. Everyday talk rituals .390

3. Idiosyncratic rituals .672

.485

4. Daily routines and tasks .386

.448

.349

5. Intimacy expressions .315

.504

.322

.485

Mean 3.84 3.18 3.93 3.36 3.22
Standard Deviation 0.71 0.79 0.64 0.79 0.75
The asterisk reflects significance level with
p < .05.

p < .01.
Table 4 Intercorrelations and Descriptive Statistics for Outcome Indicators in the
Measurement Model
Latent construct and indicator 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Relational quality
1. Satisfaction (Parcel 1)
2. Commitment (Parcel 2) .70

3. Intimacy (Parcel 3) .83

.70

4. Trust (Parcel 4) .67

.59

.59

5. Passion (Parcel 5) .58

.38

.66

.32

6. Love (Parcel 6) .73

.78

.78

.59

.50

Relational intimacy
1. Parcel 1 (1, 4, 6, & 7) .61

.49

.59

.58

.34

.51

2. Parcel 2 (2, 5, 10, 12, & 13) .65

.61

.67

.50

.38

.62

.77

3. Parcel 3 (3, 8, 9, 11, & 14) .48

.40

.50

.36

.36

.45

.57

.60

M 4.23 4.64 4.18 4.50 3.55 4.52 4.20 4.28 3.51
SD 0.90 0.67 0.87 0.76 1.00 0.70 0.78 0.69 0.49
The asterisk reflects significance level with
p < .05.

p < .01.
476 J. C. Pearson et al.
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everyday talk to relational intimacy) increased the model fit, v
2
difference
¼ 88.99, df ¼ 4,
p < .01. The final trimmed model showed good fit of the data to the model (see the
seventh model summarized in Table 1). The final structural model supported ritual
use explaining a significant amount of variance in both perceived intimacy (R
2
¼ .42)
as well as perceived relational quality (R
2
¼ .60). The final model provides evidence of
the predictive validity of the RCRR measure, as perceived use of rituals in committed
romantic relationships accounted for significant variation in both perceived rela-
tional quality and relational intimacy. Furthermore, as depicted in Figure 2, all of
the correlations among the dimensions of the RCRR measure were significantly
and positively correlated. In support of Hypothesis 1, more couple-time rituals, idio-
syncratic rituals, and everyday talk rituals were significantly related to the creation of
high-quality committed romantic relationships. Supportive of Hypothesis 2, more
Figure 1 Parameter Estimates for the Structural Model of Ritual Use, Perceived Relational Quality, and
Relational Intimacy Among Committed Romantic Relationships.
p < .05.

p < .01.
Figure 2 Final Structural Model of Perceived Relational Quality, Relational Intimacy, and Ritual Use.
All Parameters are Standardized.
p < .05.

p < .01.
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couple-time rituals, idiosyncratic rituals, and daily routines and tasks resulted in
committed relationships marked by deeper levels of perceived relational intimacy.
Intimacy rituals were not significantly related to relational quality or relational
intimacy in the final structural model. However, intimacy rituals had moderately
high levels of covariance with daily routine rituals and everyday talk rituals. The
covariance suggests that the prediction of intimacy rituals might be masked by these
other types of rituals. Couple-time rituals and idiosyncratic rituals significantly
predicted variation in both types of relational outcomes. The third hypothesis was
also supported in the final model given that relational intimacy was a significant
positive predictor of relational quality (b ¼ .51, p < .01).
Discussion
Understanding rituals enables us to comprehend relationships more generally. The
purpose of this study was to develop and validate a measure of perceived ritual
use in committed romantic relationships. Although rituals have been defined in mul-
tiple ways, this study had as one aim a more precise, functional definition that would
apply to people in committed romantic relationships. As routines serve an instru-
mental purpose in a relationship, rituals hold symbolic meaning and signal member-
ship in a relationship. Although many people convey their romantic commitment to
others through marriage, others do not or cannot. Consequently, the sample of the
study was broadened to include committed relationships. A 30-item instrument
emerged with five factors: daily routines and tasks, idiosyncratic behaviors, everyday
talk, intimacy, and couple-time rituals. Rituals are functional and they relate to
perceived relational quality and perceived relational intimacy.
Couples in committed relationships use rituals to define themselves as such, to
become closer to each other, and to fulfill daily responsibilities. The rituals identified
in the current study comport with Wolin and Bennett’s (1984) purposes of rituals to
provide temporary relief from everyday life, to provide an opportunity for interac-
tion, and to provide a means of protection. They similarly substantiate Baxter’s
(1987) three findings that relational symbols allow relational members opportunities
for fun and stimulation, opportunities for sharing, and they serve as indicators of
intimacy. Finally, the results of this study replicate five of the seven types of rituals
Bruess and Pearson (1997) reported in their investigation of marital relationships.
Although previous research (Bruess & Pearson, 1997, 2002) was inductive and
exhaustive, the current investigation was deductive in nature and more centrally
focused on providing a global and parsimonious model of rituals in committed,
romantic relationships. The RCRR measure identifies five key dimensions of rituals
in committed relationships in common with Bruess and Pearson’s original work.
However, this measure omitted the two categories of patterns=habits=mannerisms
and spiritual rituals due to their lower reported prevalence.
Rituals allow couples to organize their lives and relationships so both stability and
change can occur. They allow individuals the opportunity to assimilate into a couple,
different from either person, alone. They permit the development of a culture of two.
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Rituals are both symbolic and action oriented. They link the past, present, and future.
As couples engage in ritualizing, they cement their relationship. This investigation
found that rituals also lead to perceptions of relational quality and intimacy.
The RCRR measure is useful in extending romantic relationship research, in
general. Relational scholarship, in the decade of the 1990s, shifted from narrow areas,
such as mate selection and relational initiation, to a broader focus on relational pro-
cesses, which apply to a variety of personal relationships (Surra, Boettcher-Burke, Cottle,
West, & Gray, 2007). In as much as the RCRR measure captures perceptions of com-
municative behavior, it can be viewed as a relational process measure. Consequently,
it complements current trends in research focusing on the maintenance and persistence
of relationships, spanning many years for some individuals (Perlman & Duck, 2006).
The validation of the measure, it should be noted, included two types of commit-
ted romantic relationship typescohabitation and marriage. As individuals move
from dating relationships into more committed relationships, whether consummated
in marriage or not, rituals play an important role (Bruess & Pearson, 2002; Dainton,
2007; Dainton & Stafford, 1993; Dindia & Canary, 1993). Rituals change over time;
consequently, understanding ritual use in committed relationships, as well as dating
relationships, allows a more complete picture of relationships. Through understand-
ing the role that rituals play in committed relationships, we are able to understand
better the everyday lived experiences of individuals in one of the most common types
of interpersonal relationships.
Understanding ritual use allows us to predict relational quality more accurately.
Couple-time, idiosyncratic, and everyday talk rituals predicted greater perceived
relational quality. As the symbolic nature of rituals often has strong relational
implications, it is not surprising that the use of rituals is related to higher quality
romantic relationships. Given that relational quality includes such dimensions as
satisfaction, commitment, intimacy, trust, passion, and love (Fletcher et al., 2000),
the relationships between the ritual types and relational quality are part of a larger
and complex depiction of committed relationships. Although multifaceted, this
finding suggests a relationship between the perceived use of rituals and healthy
romantic relationships.
Relational quality is perceptual; in that an individual’s ideal standards underlie the
assessment of personal relationships. Individuals have an ideal set of relational
standards by which they judge their relationships (Baucom et al., 1989). The use
of rituals may be a part of these relational standards. Therefore, the implementation
of rituals in a relationship may improve the overall relational quality, as personal and
social relationships are enhanced by rituals (Baxter, 1987; Campbell & Ponzetti, 2007;
Oring, 1984). Further, Duck (1991) observes that relational satisfaction occurs when
couples prioritize rituals.
Perceived ritual use is also related to perceptions of relational intimacy.
Couple-time, idiosyncratic, and daily routine and task rituals predicted deeper levels
of perceived relational intimacy. As relational partners disclose their feelings about
past events and shared experiences and as they plan for their future, a sense of trust
and validation occurs (Hook et al., 2003). Rituals encourage smooth interactions
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with routinized elements. Indeed, self-disclosure, a centerpiece of intimacy, may
become ritualized.
Limitations
This study has broadened previous research concerning marital relationships to
committed romantic relationships to include people who choose not to marry or
who cannot marry. Greater ritual enactment in both types of committed romantic
relationships was associated with higher quality relationships and more intimate
relationships. This extension reflects contemporary society, but it does not allow
the meticulous specification of whom the participants represent. Although one-third
of the participants were not currently married, and 30% had never been married, we
do not know if these individuals were gay or straight. The sexuality of the participants
did not seem relevant in this development of a rituals scale; however, future investi-
gations should determine if one’s sexuality does affect ritual use. The nature of one’s
sexuality may well affect relationships and his or her use of rituals. The study limited
the participants to those in committed romantic relationships. As such, the RCRR
provides a snapshot of relationships already defined as ‘‘committed.’’ Finally, this
study also did not include rituals occurring in other types of relationships, such as
family relationships.
Future Research
Future research should extend this work to other personal relationships. An examin-
ation of dating couples, families, and extended families may be the essential next
steps. Further refinement of the current findings is also in order. As cross-sectional
data, this study cannot chart cause and effect relationships in the way that longitudi-
nal data can, examining relational process and product outcomes across time. There-
fore, future research should explore the extent to which rituals influence intimacy
and relational quality or if high-quality and intimate relationships influence greater
ritual development as an effect. The current study demonstrates that these behaviors
co-occur in meaningful and significant ways. Future research should also explore
rituals among randomly selected samples. Finally, relationships among the rituals
in committed relationships and other crucial, healthy outcomes in personal
relationships are critical.
The use of rituals is not likely to affect only the relational couple; their effects
presumably extend to the family unit as a whole. Further research should be conduc-
ted to examine how the use of rituals in committed romantic relationships affect a
variety of family-oriented variables, such as family satisfaction, family strength,
and perceived trust within the family. Previous research, as well as the current study,
suggests that the use of rituals has positive effects on couples. It would seem likely
that if romantic couples perceive positive relational quality and satisfaction, it would
likely extend into family life. Families are likely to be stronger and more trusting if
the matriarchs and patriarchs are not only committed to their families but also to
480 J. C. Pearson et al.
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their romantic relationships. Rituals are central to our understanding of interpersonal
relationships.
On the one hand, rituals represent everyday behavior; on the other, they appear to
be essential to relational quality and relational intimacy. Rituals allow us a glimpse of
the couple’s unique microculture and they predict positive outcomes. This study
reports the creation and validation of an instrument of rituals in committed, roman-
tic relationships. As such, it should promote further research, and understanding, of
rituals in relationships.
Notes
[1] The standardized factor loadings and standard error for each item in the final CFA model are
available upon request from the second author.
[2] Separate structural equation models were also computed by relational status (married versus
cohabitating relationships). The same patterns of results emerged among these two groups as
in the overall analysis with slight variations in standardized estimates from one model to the
other. Full differentiated results are available upon request from the second author.
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... These rituals naturally become part of our shared social space; they "reflect the past and shape the future" (Person et al., 2010: 466). Ritualistic communication is also central to maintaining personal connection; it helps people feel a sense of belonging to the communities and relationships that fill their lives (Carey, 1992;Person et al., 2010). ...
Chapter
This chapter uses semi-structured interviews with 86 individuals to tell a story with data about how technology amplifies the different dimensions of intimacy that shape our emotional and relational lives. Framed by mediatisation theory, I argue that the practice of intimacy is mediated and reflects our shared history of evolving communication rituals. For instance, with everyday technologies like handwritten letters, telephone conversations, video calls, etc., comes a new culture of communication. We borrow practices of times past while reimagining them for our contemporary culture based on what is available and the shifting circumstances of today’s society (e.g., times of war, geographic separation, COVID-19, etc.). With this qualitative analysis, I provide insight into the use of different technological artifacts that may not be designed for intimacy but are adapted by the user based on their regular performance of intimacy norms. Results reveal that technology, in its many forms and platforms, supports our soft structure of intimacy. Furthermore, three significant themes, including temporal experience, presence in absence, and fragmented presence, are presented to address how our experiences with intimacy and media are perpetually intertwined.
... 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). ...
Article
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.
... Drinking also represents an interpersonal ritual, forging a sense of stability and identity in relationships (114). Drinking symbolises celebration and solidarity in social settings, which are key to providing support in the face of life events, signalling commitment to the individual and the relationship (105,115). ...
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Background: Numerous factors may influence how older people use alcohol. Risks of harm from drinking increase with age, as alcohol affects common health conditions and medications. Drinking can play a positive role in older people’s social lives, and has been associated with some health benefits. Care providers can support older people to make informed decisions surrounding their drinking. However, their work may be affected by their own views about alcohol. Aim: To explore the views of older adults and primary care providers regarding health and psychosocial factors shaping drinking practices in later life, and how these practices are influenced. Methods: A systematic review of qualitative literature examined older adults’ and care providers’ views of drinking in later life, influencing factors and patterns of consumption. In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with older adults and primary care providers. Data were analysed thematically, applying principles of constant comparison to conceptualise how health and psychosocial factors shape drinking. Relevant social theory, including Bury’s biographical disruption and Bourdieu’s theory of practice, aided interpretation. Results: Drinking routines developed across the life course, shaped by cultural expectations and norms, and in response to late-life transitions. Drinking played ritualised roles in older people’s social and leisure lives. Older people did not identify with risks of drinking, unless they had explicit reason to believe their intake was damaging. Care providers’ preconceptions surrounding the meaning of alcohol in older people’s lives shaped their approach to discussion. Discussion: Positive roles of alcohol and processes involved in perceiving risk meant associated risks were overlooked by older adults and care providers. Social, routine and moralistic justifications for risky alcohol use must be challenged to address risky drinking amongst older people. Care providers can support older people to recognise risks and develop healthy routines, but require appropriate resources and knowledge.
... Third, our participants had been married for approximately 15 years. They may have established communication and decision-making rituals in their relationship (Pearson, Child, & Carmon, 2010), which are not influenced by one training session. Fourth, the presence of husbands may have influenced women to confirm to existing gender norms of being agreeable and supportive (i.e., stereotype threat; e.g., Logel et al., 2009), thereby hindering the expression of signs of empowerment. ...
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Offering women access to microcredit and business training is a prominent approach to stimulate women's empowerment. Whereas men seem to profit from business training, women do not. We adjusted a goal‐setting training session on the basis of women's needs in collaboration with a women organization in Sri Lanka. We invited female microfinance borrowers and their husbands to the training as both parties should be involved to change existing gender roles with respect to their income‐generating activity. We investigated the impact of the training on goal‐setting skills, self‐esteem, and the couples' interaction in a subsequent task. In two field experiments, female borrowers and their husbands (nstudy1 = 68; nstudy2 = 76) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) goal‐setting training and setting goals as couple, (b) goal‐setting training and setting goals individually, or (c) no training (control condition). Participation in the training increased women's SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound) goal‐setting skills. We coded couples' interactions in a subsequent decision‐making task to assess signs of women's empowerment. Descriptively, we found some initial evidence of increased women's empowerment in the interaction (Study 2). We critically discuss results and how gendered power imbalances may need to be addressed to stimulate social change towards gender equity.
Article
Purpose: Due to the immediacy of the COVID-19 phenomenon, researchers recognized a need to examine the effects of restrictions on communication patterns between committed, cohabiting partners. Prior literature investigated factors contributing to communication satisfaction; however, a substantial gap remains within the occupational therapy (OT) literature. The study explored perceived satisfaction of quantity and quality of communication before and during COVID-19 restrictions between cohabitating, committed partners and its relation to occupation. Methods: A questionnaire sent via e-mail recruited subjects from an occupational therapy doctorate (OTD) program who self-identified as having quarantined with a committed partner during COVID-19 restrictions. A mixed-methods design consisted of two phases: a questionnaire which measured perceptions of quantity and quality of communication before and during COVID-19 restrictions and a virtual focus group which gathered information on lived experiences regarding communication during the same time periods. Results: The questionnaire provided quantitative data (n=12) on demographics, communication satisfaction, communication frequency, and frequency of media use. Paired sample t-tests did not show a significant difference in means before or during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Four themes emerged from the focus group (n= 6) including change in routines, personal reflections, and quantity and quality of communication. Conclusion: Findings suggested that quarantining with a committed partner during COVID-19 restrictions had mixed effects on quality and quantity of communication, however, satisfaction remained consistently high. Participants reported adapting to challenges created by COVID-19 restrictions by altering habits and routines specific to communication with their committed partner. The study presents information on the patterns of communication in intimate partner relationships vital to the profession of OT.
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Relationship Marketing umfasst das Bilden, die Aufrechterhaltung sowie bei Bedarf die Auflösung von Beziehungen zwischen Unternehmen und Kunden. Mit zunehmender Mobilität und sich ausdehnender physischer Distanz werden neue Ansätze zur Interaktion zwischen Unternehmen und Kunden benötigt, um entstehende Beziehungslücken zu überbrücken und Kundenabwanderung zu vermeiden. Während Rituale und Symbole im Marketing bereits Beachtung gefunden haben, ist die Anwendung dieser in Form eines Reminder Management, das Kunden strategisch an eine potenzielle Beziehung zum Unternehmen erinnert, bislang in den Hintergrund gerückt. Dieser Beitrag zielt daher darauf ab, mittels des Einsatzes mediatisierter Interaktionsrituale, in Kombination mit Symbolen, Distanz zu verkürzen. Es wird aufgezeigt, dass dieser Einsatz Möglichkeiten, aber auch Grenzen mit sich bringt.
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Disagreements surrounding finances often impact relationships and may even lead to divorce. Financial conversations, then, emerge as the strongest “tug-of-war” opponent to the successful partnership couples hope to achieve, so researchers must identify strategies to positively talk about money. This study seeks to identify communication strategies married partners employ to successfully discuss money. This study takes an exploratory approach utilizing open-ended surveys. The narratives from 53 participants revealed that couples enact the maintenance strategies of understanding, sharing tasks, relationship talks, and self-disclosure to achieve positive financial conversations. Moreover, because one-third of the data focused on the importance of establishing rules and goals, couples should make it a priority to set clear rules and goals for their conversations revolving around money.
Article
Although all romantic relationships experience stress, some thrive when faced with adversity while others are unable to manage the inevitable relationship ups and downs. Rather than seeing stress as a risk factor, this study applied a Salutogenic framework, which posits that stress is a naturally occurring and potentially beneficial part of relationships, to develop a new measure of relationship health and well-being. In Study 1, we created and tested a self-report Relationship Sense of Coherence (RSOC) scale. Study 2 demonstrated evidence of convergent reliability for the RSOC. In Study 3, we tested the RSOC in a two-wave sample of romantically-involved individuals with a chronic health condition. Guidelines for use and implications for future research are discussed.
Article
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.
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This article presents an art-based research of intimacy that explored if, and how we can deepen our understanding of intimacy through painting, witnessing, reflection on the process and imagery and video editing. The research also explored what features within the creative process, materials and reflection through video editing could further the intimate experience. Five adults between the ages 30-80 familiar with creating visual art, with various socio-cultural backgrounds participated in the research, among them were four co-researchers (two men and two women) and the primary researcher. The research included six interdependent phases: three experiential sessions of painting by the co-researchers witnessed by the researcher; reflective discussions; creative responding by the researcher; creation of edited videos; an exhibition; and concluding reflective discussions and review with co-researchers. The findings identified two active components within intimacy: commitment to the present moment and looking closely. Four qualities of the creative process, materials and reflection through video acted as mediators: (1) continued and persistent immersion, (2) physical closeness and zooming in, (3) attention to details, and (4) sensuousness.
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Family rituals My “Gotcha Day” is just before school is out. My birthday is in the summer when school's out, but I get to have a school party anyway—that's my adoption party! It's just like a birthday party! My mom brings treats, and everybody sings “Happy Adoption Day to You,” like the “Happy Birthday” song. What's different is that since kindergarten, my mom and I get to explain to my class what adoption day means. When I was young, my mom read books to my class about it. Now that I'm a big kid, I get to talk to everybody and answer questions about what it means to be adopted. And when I get home, I get “Gotcha” presents, just like I do on my birthday. And then I hear the stories about the trip to China to get me. —Emma, age 9 We begin this chapter about rituals with ...
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This study examined the relation between marital satisfaction and religious holiday ritual practices. One hundred twenty couples, married 9 years on average, completed measures of religious holiday practices (current family and family-of-origin) and marital satisfaction. Couples were interviewed about how important religion was to their family life. Marital satisfaction was related to religious holiday rituals beyond a global indication of religiousness. A different pattern was found for husbands and wives, with husbands' satisfaction more closely linked to ritual meaning and wives' satisfaction associated with routine practices. Family-of-origin rituals were connected across generations. Wives' marital satisfaction was related to husbands' report of religious holiday rituals but not the converse. Results are discussed in terms of how rituals affirm relationships, connect values and beliefs, and may have differential meaning for men and women.
Article
The report of meaningful family rituals relative to being raised in an alcoholic or nonalcoholic household and the possible role of family rituals were examined. Data were collected from 241 adolescents, 114 of their mothers, and 104 of their fathers. COAs and non-COAs differed on their report of the meaning associated with family rituals. A significant interaction was found between father-adolescent family ritual scores and adolescent health-related anxiety symptoms. Inconsistent results were found for adolescent problem drinking.