Article

Joint Religiosity and Married Couples' Sexual Satisfaction

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Abstract

Although many studies have examined the association between religion and sexuality, the majority of these studies have focused on nonmarital sex. Unfortunately, despite the fact that a satisfying sexual relationship plays a critical role in married couples’ relationship quality and stability, the associations between religiosity and marital sexual satisfaction are not well understood. Thus, to examine the association between religiosity and couples’ reports of married sexual satisfaction, the authors of this study used dyadic data from a nationally representative sample of married couples ( N = 1,368) between the ages of 18 and 45. They used both joint and individual measures of religiosity as well as examining the relationship mechanisms that might link religiosity and sexual satisfaction. In the models, individual-level reports of marital sanctification were positively associated with wives’ and husbands’ reports of sexual satisfaction. Furthermore, joint religious activities done in the home were positively associated with husbands’ reports of sexual satisfaction. Marital commitment, relationship maintenance behaviors, and spousal time fully mediated these associations for husbands, while commitment partially mediated the association for wives.

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... In line with this approach, Hernandez- Kane and Mahoney (2018) found that greater sanctification of marital sexuality around the first year of marriage predicted higher sexual frequency as well as greater sexual and marital satisfaction in the following year. Also, according to Dew et al. (2020), religious couples who perceive their marriage as sacred are more likely to hold attitudes and invest in practices that enhance relationship quality, including greater commitment, relationship maintenance behaviors (e.g., expressions of kindness, love, and affection), and time spent together, which in turn contribute to marital sexual satisfaction. Similarly, Waite and Joyner (2001) found that regular church attendance was positively associated with sexual satisfaction for both men and women, though the estimated effect was found to be lower when controlling for attitudes on sexual exclusivity. ...
... As religion might influence sexual attitudes and behaviors through values and beliefs about the sanctity of marriage and marital sex, it has been suggested that intrinsic aspects of religiosity would matter more to sexual functioning than public expressions of religiosity, such as religious service attendance (Ashdown et al., 2011;Hackathorn et al., 2016). Indeed, studies that analyzed different types of religious measures suggested that personal measures of religiosity, such as private prayer or other in-home religious activities are better predictors of sexual behavior and satisfaction compared to public or institutionalized indicators of religious adherence (Cranney, 2020;Dew et al., 2020). These findings are also consistent with the study by Pargament (2002) on religion and well-being. ...
... Religious adherence may include different aspects, such as religious beliefs, religious practices, and importance of religion in one's life. Since intrinsic measures of religiosity have been found to be more important determinants of sex behavior and satisfaction than public expressions of religiosity (Ashdown et al., 2011;Cranney, 2020;Dew et al., 2020;Hackathorn et al., 2016), we used a measure of subjective religiosity. In the survey, respondents were asked "How important are religion and religious beliefs to you, now?" with the following answer options: very important, fairly important, not very important, and not important at all. ...
Article
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Previous studies on the relationship between religiosity and sexual behavior have yielded mixed results, partly due to variations by gender and marital status. Furthermore, less is known about this relationship in relatively secularized societies, as in the case of Britain. In this study, we used data from the third British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) to explore the link between religiosity (11% of men and 16% of women stated that religion and religious beliefs were very important to them) and sex frequency and satisfaction among men and women in different types of relationships. Women and men who saw religion as more important in their lives reported having less sex on average, though this was mainly driven by the significantly lower sex frequency among non-cohabiting religious individuals compared to their less religious peers. At the same time, religiosity was linked with overall higher levels of sex life satisfaction. This relationship appeared to be largely mediated by attitudes on the appropriate context for sexual intercourse. These findings highlight the importance of sociocultural norms in shaping sexual behavior and sexual satisfaction.
... Further adding to this complexity, religious experience is highly varied, and how individuals approach their religion can also impact their experience of sexuality-for better or worse . As has been observed in both research and therapeutic work, an individual's religion might play a role in their sexual problems-or help adherents find a path to sexual satisfaction and healing (Dew et al., 2020). Thus, in some cases, religion can seem simultaneously connected to both the confusion and the clearer perspective of sexuality for individuals, couples, and families. ...
... Although religious boundaries and rules surrounding sex often add to familial and marital stability, such as the expectation of sexual fidelity and modesty in dress, it has historically been the duty of women to be the keepers of these boundaries . It is possible that religious support of sexual boundaries might add to women's sexual enjoyment through mechanisms such as sanctifying sex and increasing marital commitment (Dew et al., 2020). And yet, these boundaries might be restricting if they morph into benevolent sexism where a "good woman" is one who is a successful sexual gatekeeper (Haggard et al., 2019). ...
Article
Using data from interviews with 198 highly religious Muslim, Christian, or Jewish families in the U.S., we investigated how religion informs sexual relationships, sexual practices, and sexual beliefs in family life. Guided by Marks’ method (2015), a team-based coding approach, participants’ comments about sexuality and sexual relationships were coded and organized into four themes that illuminated how religion and sexuality intersect among highly religious couples and families. Themes included (a) boundaries and rules around sex, (b) purpose of sex, (c) navigating culture and media, and (d) concerns regarding children. Implications for practitioners are discussed including understanding the most common ways sex and religion intersect in highly religious families, and the importance of asking clients to what degree their faith influences their sexual relationships, practices, and beliefs.
... Understanding how to improve sexual satisfaction is important to the work of therapists, medical providers, and educators as sexual satisfaction is linked with a variety of life outcomes such as marital satisfaction (McNulty et al., 2016) and psychological health (Impett et al., 2014). This is likely one reason why scholars, in an ever-growing body of literature, have identified a diverse set of correlates of sexual satisfaction including but not limited to sexual frequency (McNulty et al., 2016), verbal and nonverbal sexual communication, mood setting, and sexual variety (Frederick et al., 2017), adult romantic attachment (Mark et al., 2018), and marital sanctification and joint religious activities in the home (Dew et al., 2020). The diverse nature of these correlates speaks to the importance of studying and affecting change in sexual satisfaction by employing multifaceted and wide-encompassing theoretical frameworks in order to address the fact that a variety of domains influence sexual satisfaction. ...
... Using multifaceted frameworks such as the DMMC is important due to the many correlates of sexual satisfaction (Byers, 2005;Dew et al., 2020;Mark et al., 2018;McNulty et al., 2016) and the intricate nature of sexual satisfaction. Without a comprehensive, overarching theory guiding their work, scholars and practitioners may approach sexual satisfaction through a narrow lens, and, consequently, oversimplify their inquiry or practice and be less effective in aiding married couples. ...
Article
Sexual satisfaction is a complex construct that is affected by many diverse factors. Without a comprehensive framework guiding their work, scholars and practitioners who work with married couples may inadvertently focus on a single factor affecting sexual satisfaction and subsequently limit the effectiveness of their research and practice. Through discussion and an empirical example, the current study explores how the developmental model of marital competence—a comprehensive theory for understanding marital processes—can be used by scholars and practitioners to guide their work on sexual satisfaction and broaden their approach. Utilizing U.S. nationally representative data from 2,114 mixed-sex couples and guided by the actor-partner-interdependence-model, cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between wives’ and husbands’ sexual satisfaction and three factors—conflict resolution quality, forgiveness, and anxious and avoidant attachment—that correspond to the three domains of the developmental model of marital competence—marital communication, marital virtues, and marital identities—were tested. Results of the current study provide empirical support for the use of the developmental model of marital competence when approaching work on sexual relationships among married, heterosexual couples. For both partners, variables from each of the three domains of this model were associated with sexual satisfaction cross-sectionally, and variables in one domain—attachment avoidance and anxiety—were associated with changes in sexual satisfaction over time. The merits of researchers and practitioners integrating the developmental model of marital competence into their work are discussed.
... We can assume with higher divorce rate and lower marital satisfaction comes an increase in conflict. Researchers have established a strong framework of theories for possible areas of heightened conflict in intermarriage ranging from differing conflict management styles (Cheng, 2010); differences in reciprocity and understanding of time, differing values including acculturation, sex roles and religion (Durodoye, 1994); levels of marital sanctification and religiosity (Dew et al., 2020); language and communication, individualism versus collectivism, attitudes on marriage, individual traits, family support, and societal attitudes (Skowroński et al., 2014). Over the years, studies on interethnic relationships and marriage and resulting satisfaction have taken place in a multitude of settings within and outside of the U.S. and have used various measurement tools. ...
... What these studies show is that environmental factors are the primary contributor to the gap in relationship satisfaction in interethnic couples. Dew, Willoughby, and Uecker (2020) recently conducted a similar correlational study analyzing how religiosity brings married couples together intimately. The researchers hypothesized based on previous similar studies, that joint religiosity would predict levels of sexual satisfaction. ...
Preprint
Abstract Inter-ethnic and inter-cultural marriages are becoming increasingly common with globalization. The dimensions of interpersonal relations and, more specifically, marital satisfaction, have only gathered limited research. This study seeks to determine whether there is a significant difference in marital satisfaction and areas of conflict between interethnic individuals and ethnically similar married individuals in the Maldives. Thirty-seven participants living in the Maldives took part in the study including nine mixed married individuals. A quasi-experimental design and t tests were used to test the difference in martial satisfaction between the two groups using the ENRICH Marital Satisfaction Scale (EMS). Although the results from t-tests, Wilcoxon tests, and a mixed ANOVA presented insignificant difference in mean EMS scores, there is some evidence that areas of conflict differ between groups. A major area of difference and conflict between the two marriage types is that of career and finance. This research is a foundational study, the first of its kind, to recognize how foreign and local married individuals adapt to cultural differences in the Maldives. Keywords: marital satisfaction, interethnic marriage, interracial marriage, relationship satisfaction, intercultural marriage, interpersonal relations
... Sex life satisfaction has been positively associated with a happy marriage, happiness, and good health (28; 46). A study using data from a nationally representative sample of married couples (N=1,368) between the ages of 18 and 45 found that a positive environment such as joint religious activities done in the home was positively associated with sexual satisfaction (7). Our research found that both men and women were satisfied with their sex life. ...
Article
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Background: COVID-19’s restrictive measures have significantly affected our health, work and social relationships. As yet, less attention has been given to the changes in sex life. Aim: This study investigates people’s satisfaction with sex life in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Methods: A cross-sectional survey of the general population (18 years and over) was conducted, from 1st to 18th July 2020, in 17 municipalities in Kinshasa and several measures were used: Quality of life MANSA, EQ-5D-3L, UCLA Loneliness; PHQ-9; GAD-7. Prior to conducting data analysis, diagnostic tests for our data were performed to assess distribution, variance and multicollinearity. Descriptive statistics, bivariate correlation and multiple regression analysis were used. Results: Sex life satisfaction increases from young adults aged 18- 35 to those aged 36-55 and then there is a decrease from ages 56-69. After controlling for socio-demographic factors, sex life satisfaction was positively associated with the number and quality of people’s friendships (B=0.30, p=0.01) and people’s relationships with their families (B=0.32, p=0.03). People who feel lonely have lower sex life satisfaction (B=-0.15, p=0.01). Conclusion: People’s quality of their friendships and family relationships are important for their sexual well-being. Healthcare providers and policymakers should consider people’s quality of friendships and family relationships when planning to improve the sexual well-being of people in DRC.
... With the overarching lens of religion's potential to positively or negatively influence relationships (Dollahite et al., 2018), sacred theory (Pargament, 2013) provides theoretical background on how sanctification in particular might moderate religiosity to be positively or negatively associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction. Sacred theory (Pargament, 2013) highlights that a majority of people in the U.S. imbue their relationship with a sense of sacredness, meaning it has spiritual value beyond rational articulation; the influence of this sanctification can extend specifically to the sexual relationship (Dew, Uecker, & Willoughby, 2018;Hernandez et al., 2014). ...
Article
There are a variety of conditions under which religiosity may be positively or negatively associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction. To better understand these conditions, we conducted two studies using two separate samples: one with individuals (1,695 individuals), and one with couples (481 dyads), to test how sexual sanctification and sexual mindfulness moderate these associations. Across studies sexual mindfulness was positively associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction for the individual and partner, but there was no evidence for moderation; sexual sanctification was consistently associated with higher sexual and relationship satisfaction, and in some cases moderated the association between religiosity and both sexual and relationship satisfaction for women and men. In Study 1, religiosity was associated with lower sexual and relationship satisfaction for both men and women when sexual sanctification was low, but not with either type of satisfaction when sexual sanctification was high. In Study 2, religiosity was positively associated with sexual satisfaction for men but only when sexual sanctification was high. The combined evidence indicates that sexual sanctification may be one factor that distinguishes whether religion helps or hinders sexual and relationship satisfaction.
... Despite numerous negative views about sexual activity among religious communities, faith driven values may still contribute to higher sexual satisfaction. Researchers have shown sexual satisfaction to be higher in religious couples than in non-religious couples; researchers attribute this primarily to common values, such as commitment and practice of religious activities that may promote relationship maintenance by providing a dedicated time for spousal interaction (Dew et al., 2020;Mcfarland et al., 2011). Additionally, shared religious values may lead couples to invest greater time, energy, and resources into their sexual relationship (Hernandez et al., 2011). ...
Article
Research on sexual satisfaction does not always account for religious populations that may only engage in sexual experiences with one partner throughout the lifespan. Scales for assessing sexual satisfaction have been developed from generalized inclusion criteria that do not accurately represent highly religious communities, such as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Latter-Day Saints). Researchers conducted a phenomenological study exploring contributing factors to sexual satisfaction within the Latter-Day Saints community. Twelve heterosexual couples (n = 24) took part in semi-structured interviews centered on sexual satisfaction in their relationships. The results were categorized into 7 themes: individual well-being, consistency, satisfaction with context of the sexual experience, positive perception of partner’s experience, emotional connectedness, overall relationship satisfaction, and openness to sexuality. Special attention was given by participants to the role of openness in sexual satisfaction and the need to transform the cultural notion of secrecy around sexuality. The implications of this study should be considered by mental healthcare professionals working with individual or couple clients identifying as members of the church who report sexual difficulty.
... Religion and gender role perception appear to be intertwined with sexual experience. Abrahamic religious perspectives promote sexuality between married couples with the aim of procreation and to maintain or increase marital satisfaction (Dew et al., 2020;Leonhardt et al. 2020;McFarland et al. 2011). This promotion of married, monogamous sexual intimacy might be particularly empowering for women , who have long been portrayed as the "traditional guardians of religion and morality in the family and community" (Haavio-Mannila and Kontula 1997, p. 415). ...
Article
Background Many world religions explicitly and/or implicitly promote gender hierarchy and the patriarchal nature of gender roles is a nearly universal theme within these traditions. Notwithstanding the hierarchical patterns often apparent in religiously defined gender roles, complementarity in gender roles is also an essential characteristic of many religions.PurposeReligious teachings regarding gender roles may dualistically foster relational health or cause relational harm—depending on the particular teachings and, perhaps most saliently, depending on how religious teachings are applied and lived out within marriages and families. We aim to explore, through interviews with highly religious wives and husbands, the influences and meanings that wives' and husbands' religious beliefs and practices have in connection with their perspectives and lived experience of gender roles in the context of marriage and family life.Methods We conducted in-depth, qualitative interviews with 198 individuals using a racially and ethnically diverse sample consisting of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish families (N = 476 individuals). Questions regarding gender within relationships were not included on the interview questionnaire but gender-related issues spontaneously surfaced in many of the interviews. Participants’ comments involving gender were identified using NVivo 12 software and were then qualitatively analyzed using a team-based methodology (Marks in Current Psychol, 34(3): 494-505, 2015).ResultsTwo themes addressing the nexus of gender and religion were identified: Theme 1: Sanctity and Complementary Gender Roles in Sexual Relations; Theme 2: Interpreting and Safeguarding Gender Roles. Primary data excerpts are presented to illustrate each theme and implications and applications are discussed.Conclusions and ImplicationsProfessionals and individuals may examine how religious doctrine is translated into gender attitudes and roles. As individuals understand the many ways highly religious families view gender, gender roles, and gender attitudes, they may be open to examining a wider range of gender interpretations that still remain consistent with their doctrine.
... Finally, sexual behaviors are related to spirituality and religious practices (Murray, Ciarrocchi & Murray-Swank, 2007;Penhollow & Denny, 2005). Higgins, Trussell, Moore & Davidson (2010) found that religious people reported a lower level of sexual satisfaction, while marital sanctification and joint in-home religious activities (particularly for husbands) were positively associated with sexual satisfaction (Dew, Uecker & Willoughby, 2020). ...
Article
Sexual satisfaction is the most frequently studied sexual component of human sexuality related to its link with relationship satisfaction and stability (S. Sprecher & R. M. Cate, 2004. The handbook of sexuality in close relationships, pp. 235–256. Mahwah, NJ: Taylor & Francis). Previous studies have shown that sexual satisfaction is affected by personal, interpersonal, social and cultural variables, but few studies have considered the associations between these variables. The aim of this study was to evaluate a complex model of sexual satisfaction considering these various levels of variables and their associations. The study was conducted online and comprised 457 individuals in the final sample. The French version of the index of sexual satisfaction evaluated the level of sexual dissatisfaction. Personal, interpersonal, social and cultural variables were assessed with questionnaires and their associations were investigated with the partial least squares‐path method. The association between dyadic coping (positive and negative) and sexual dissatisfaction was mediated by relationship satisfaction. The model also showed three sequential mediations through dyadic coping and relationship satisfaction: first between intra‐individual vulnerability and sexual dissatisfaction, second between intra‐individual resources and sexual dissatisfaction, and third between conjugal characteristics and sexual dissatisfaction. The simple and sequential mediations were stronger for positive dyadic coping. The relationship between intra‐individual resources and positive dyadic coping was significantly stronger in women, while the relationship between conjugal characteristics and positive dyadic coping was stronger in men. Dyadic coping plays a key role in sexual dissatisfaction. Clinical interventions should reinforce positive self‐image (particularly in women), support emotional and physical vulnerabilities, and promote more supportive dyadic coping (particularly in men in a long‐term relationship).
... Influenced by a person's sexual health, sexual well-being refers to individuals' cognitive appraisals of and affective responses to their sexual lives, including satisfaction with their sexuality, sexual relationships, and sexual functioning (Byers & Rehman, 2014). Despite the relationships between sexual well-being and life satisfaction, psychological wellbeing (Muise et al., 2016;Stephenson & Meston, 2015), and relationship satisfaction (Dew et al., 2020;Fallis et al., 2016;Impett et al., 2019), researchers have consistently found that few psychologists receive training related to human sexuality, study sexuality using a sex-positive framework emphasizing "diversity, empowerment, and choice" (Williams et al., 2015, p. 6) or report competence addressing sex and sexuality in their primary roles (Burnes et al., 2017;Hargons et al., 2017;Miller & Byers, 2010;Mollen, Burnes, et al., 2018;Wiederman & Sansone, 1999). Health service psychologists can serve the public by advancing sexual health and sexual well-being, helping to improve people's lives, and contribute meaningfully to the greater good. ...
... The High Arousal class consisted of significantly more religious women and men than several of the other classes as did the Inaccurate Split class. This adds to a growing body of literature indicating protective and positive factors being associated with religiosity and sexuality (Dew et al., 2020;Hernandez et al., 2014). These results may also be speaking to the value of holding a sanctified view of sexuality and marriage as other scholars have found that couples who are more highly religious are more likely to hold a sanctified view of sexuality and this improves sexual and relational outcomes (Hernandez-Kane & Mahoney, 2018). ...
Article
In this study we explored the sexual response process in couple relationships. With a U.S. sample of 383 mixed-sex couples we found seven different classes of couple sexual response using Dyadic Latent Class Growth Analysis for ratings of self and partner about their most recent sexual experience. These classes ranged from synchronous High Arousal (31.6%) and Medium Arousal (27.7%) groups, to a few classes where one partner had a quick arousal process and the other partner had very low levels of arousal. Couples in these classes were differentiated on their levels of accuracy in understanding what their partner was experiencing, as one class had couples where men experienced higher arousal than women in the first part of the experience, but the male partner was aware of the discrepancy (Equifinality, 6.8%, i.e. couples start at different levels of arousal but end up at the same place), and another where men experienced higher arousal than women throughout the experience, but men inaccurately thought their partner also experienced higher arousal (Inaccurate Split, 7.3%). The seven classes had significantly different values on variables measuring the quality of the specific sexual experience. These classes also significantly differed on a variety of measures assessing the overall sexual relationship and the relationship as a whole. These findings counter the argument that the sexual response cycle is uniform for most couples.
... Even more specifically, joint and individual religious behaviors, religious values, and religious affiliation are likely other important relational factors that create unique and varied couple environments for pornography use. Joint religious practices have been shown to impact relational sexuality by creating a unique religious relational context through which couples interact (Dew, Uecker, & Willoughby, 2018) and sexual sanctification (Hernandez, Mahoney, & Pargament, 2011) could likewise alter the practices and effect of pornography within a relational context. ...
Article
Research exploring the correlates, moderators, and potential consequences of viewing pornography for romantic couples has surged in recent years. Research in this area has primarily focused on the question of whether viewing pornography for either partner (or together) is related to enhanced, diminished, or has no effect on relational well-being. However, this narrow scholarly focus and the continued methodological limitations of research in this area have made synthesizing or drawing broad conclusions about pornography use from this scholarship difficult. One specific limitation of this area is the lack of any broad organizational framework that could help scholars categorize existing research while also laying the groundwork for future scholarship. In this paper, we argue for such a framework and suggest that relational pornography scholarship could be organized across five broad dimensions: the nuances of the content viewed, individual background factors, personal views and attitudes, a couple's relational context, and couple processes. We provide a justification for these five areas and then discuss how this framework could help organize and structure the research in this area moving forward.
... Studies using structural equation or fixed effects modeling with longitudinal data also show that greater sanctification of marriage predicts better observed problem-solving behavior and more positivity by husbands and wives during videotaped interactions where couples were asked to discuss their core conflicts during the TtP (Kusner et al. 2014;Rauer and Volling 2015). Couples who perceive sexual relations with a spouse as sanctified also report more sexual satisfaction cross-sectionally (Uecker and Willoughby 2018). Likewise, the more newlyweds view marital sexuality as sanctified, the more marital and sexual satisfaction as well as more frequent sex they report longitudinally (Hernandez-Kane and Mahoney 2018). ...
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This study examined the extent to which 164 married heterosexuals’ reports of the sanctification of marriage and spiritual intimacy during pregnancy predicted the trajectory of the couples’ observed intimacy skills during late pregnancy and when their first child was 3, 6, and 12 months old. At each time point, couples were videotaped in their homes for 10 min discussing their fears and vulnerabilities about becoming and being a new parent. Separate teams of three coders rated the four interactions and each spouse’s intimacy skills, including disclosure of feelings of vulnerability about becoming or being a new parent, and supportive comments and positive non-verbal responses to each other. Using a multi-level dyadic discrepancy approach to growth curve modeling, both husbands’ and wives’ observed intimacy skills displayed a curvilinear trajectory over the first year of parenthood, with wives consistently displaying more emotional intimacy skills than husbands. Consistent with hypotheses, higher endorsement of the sanctification of marriage and spiritual intimacy between spouses at home predicted higher observed intimacy skills across time. No variation in these associations emerged due to parent gender. Thus, this longitudinal study identifies two specific spiritual processes within marriages that may motivate spouses to share their vulnerabilities and provide one another with valuable emotional support in coping with the transition to parenthood.
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Introduction Although spouses frequently financially deceive each other (MFD; i.e., marital financial deception), few studies have examined this relationship behavior. The purpose of our study is to examine predictors of separate and joint occurrences of MFD and extramarital affairs (EMI). We chose the predictors we tested using social exchange theory (SET). Methods We used a national sample of married individuals and multinomial logistic regression analyses to examine how different predictors were associated with membership in three different groups (MFD with no EMI, EMI with no MFD, and both MFD and EMI) relative to the group of participants who reported neither behaviors. Results Relationship satisfaction was associated with a lower likelihood of being in the MFD-only group, moral commitment was negatively associated with membership in both EMI groups, and personal dedication commitment was negatively associated with membership in both MFD groups. Flirting with someone other than one’s spouse was positively associated with being in all three groups relative to the reference group. The personal importance of religion was not associated with group membership. Discussion Moral commitment, personal dedication commitment, and flirting with someone other than one’s spouse predicted these two types of marital deception. It is likely that other issues that affect marital outcomes, comparisons, and monitoring alternatives to the relationship may predict MFD and/or EMI.
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The association between religiosity and the construct of sexual passion was examined to see whether religiosity is associated with harmonious, inhibited, and obsessive sexual passion styles. Using multiple regression and checking for interactions between religiosity, gender, broad categories of religion (Catholic, other Christian, other religious, nonreligious), and the three sexual passion styles, the following associations were found: Religiosity had a significant curvilinear relationship to all three sexual passion styles, suggesting an overlap in levels of religiosity and the construct of sexual passion. Optimal sexual passion outcomes were found at both higher and lower levels of religiosity, whereas mid-level religiosity was associated with the less beneficial sexual passion outcomes. Religious men were significantly more obsessively passionate than religious women, and religious men and women were similarly high on levels of harmonious and low on inhibited sexual passion. There were no significant interactions between religiosity, broad categories of religion, and sexual passion styles. Understanding how religion and sexual passion are associated could be useful for applied researchers as well as those who work with religious individuals who want to help these individuals develop beneficial patterns of sexual passion.
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Previous research has demonstrated that women experience higher levels of guilt compared with men at first sexual intercourse. Research also indicates that guilt is related to religiosity and to level of relational commitment. However, there has been no research on the correlates of sexual debut in a Christian population. This study compares the experiences of married Christian women who had first intercourse before or after marriage on guilt, sanctification of sex, and marital satisfaction. A total of 210 married Christian women were administered a survey containing measures of guilt at first intercourse, sanctification of sexuality, and marital satisfaction. The results indicate that the premarital group reported significantly higher levels of guilt at first intercourse and significantly lower levels of theistic sanctification and marital satisfaction than the marital group. In addition, there was no significant correlation between relational commitment and guilt for the premarital debut group, suggesting that those who were in a committed relationship at sexual debut experienced similar levels of guilt to those who were not in a committed relationship at debut. This study has meaningful implications for the way sexuality is discussed in Christian culture.
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Prior literature has generally found either a null or positive association between sex life satisfaction and religiosity. However, different studies have used various measures of religiosity and have focused on different demographics along the dimensions of age, marital status, and gender, limiting what can be determined in terms of moderating and cross-demographic effects. This shortcoming is germane because it may explain the differing findings in the literature. This study drew on the nationally representative 2017 Baylor Religion Survey (N = 1501) to test relationships among sex life satisfaction, sexual frequency, and a variety of different religious measures while testing for demographic moderators. Results suggest that religion and spirituality have a strong and significant association with sex life satisfaction while controlling for basic sociodemographic variables, and that this relationship is consistent across marital status, age, and gender. The positive association between religion and sexual frequency appeared to be limited to more intrinsic, personal forms such as self-rated spirituality and frequency of prayer. This association did not exist for non-married individuals, however, and among non-marrieds those who attend religious services more reported lower sexual frequency. Possible explanations for these results are discussed.
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We studied cross-cultural associations between religiosity and mating strategies by examining empirical links between personal religiosity and permissive sexuality across 10 major regions of the world-North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Oceania, South/Southeast Asia, and East Asia. We expected and found higher personal religiosity was cross-culturally associated with lower sexual permissivity, and these associations were typically stronger among women than men. We also expected and found higher personal religiosity was associated with higher levels of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness across most regions. These findings were consistent with evolutionary perspectives emphasizing religion's role in encouraging within-group cooperation, promoting social morality and norm-adherence, and reducing sexual permissivity. This investigation lends empirical support to studies showing religions are at least partially shaped by genetically evolved mechanisms designed by natural selection to solve persisting biological needs involving large scale social cooperation, alloparental care, and committed/monogamous reproductive strategies.
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Hypotheses concerning possible correlates of sexual satisfaction in marriage were tested using the replies of 797 married women and men of diverse ages to a 70-item mailed questionnaire that contained seven Likert-type sub-scales measuring different sexual and non-sexual variables. Multiple regression analysis, using sexual satisfaction as the dependent variable, yielded a five-variable model that accounted for a significant portion of the variation in sexual satisfaction (Adjusted R Squared = .602). The variable 'overall satisfaction with marriage' had the highest correlation with sexual satisfaction (r = .622), followed by 'satisfaction with non-sexual aspects of the relationship' (r = .609), frequency of spouse/partner orgasm per sexual encounter (r = .529), frequency of sexual activity (r = .370), and 'sexual uninhibitedness' (r = .230). None of three measures of religiosity made a significant contribution to explaining the variation on self reported sexual satisfaction. Men and women did not differ in level of sexual satisfaction, and adding gender to the regression model did not increase the level of explained variation. The results indicate that sexual satisfaction in these married respondents could not be compartmentalized to their sexual interactions, but was strongly associated with non-sexual aspects of the overall marital relationship as well.
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The companionate theory of marriage suggests that egalitarianism in practice and belief leads to higher marital quality for wives and higher levels of positive emotion work on the part of husbands. Our analysis of women's marital quality and men's marital emotion work provides little evidence in support of this theory. Rather, in examining women's marital quality and men's emotional investments in marriage, we find that dyadic commitment to institutional ideals about marriage and women's contentment with the division of household tasks are more critical. We also show that men's marital emotion work is a very important determinant of women's marital quality. We conclude by noting that “her” marriage is happiest when it combines elements of the new and old: that is, gender equity and normative commitment to the institution of marriage.
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This study reports results from in-depth interviews with 57 highly religious middle-aged married couples representing the major Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) and residing in New England and Northern California. The study uses grounded theory methods to create themes that describe the ways that religiosity influences marital commitment. Couples reported that religious beliefs and practices helped them include God as the third partner in their marriage, believe in marriage as a religious institution that lasts, and find meaning in committing to marriage.
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This article uses qualitative data (participant-observation and interviews) to examine happiness talk in a university-based evangelical Christian organization (University Unity). Unity Christians claim that they are happier than non-Christians, but rather than viewing their happiness as a mental health outcome of their participation in a religious organization, I view it as a cultural phenomenon—a way of talking and thinking about their emotions. I show how Unity participants learn to think of themselves as happy, learn to adjust their emotional responses and view their managed emotions as authentic, and learn to link happiness to their moral selves. Unity's emotion work helps participants achieve happiness, but because it also disallows any negative emotions, such happiness is compulsory. One cannot be a Unity Christian if one is not happy. In Unity, then, happiness is a symbolic boundary—participants see themselves as happier (and more authentically so) than others—but this feeling is also material in the crafting of more complex moral boundaries in which happiness is both sign and cause of other kinds of “goodness.” Happiness is an effective boundary not just because Unity Christians themselves want to be happy, but because most members of the middle class want to be happy, and because it builds on broader associations between happiness and morality. Inasmuch as happiness signals morality, unhappiness signals immorality.
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A growing body of research has focused on socioeconomic and cultural explanations for the fragility of marriage in urban America. This paper examines the role that religious participation—and the norms and behaviors it promotes—plays in encouraging marriage among new parents in urban America. Using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that urban mothers who have a nonmarital birth are significantly more likely to marry within a year of that birth if they attend church frequently. For the most part, this religious effect cannot be explained by measured relationship-related beliefs and behaviors (such as affection between partners and the absence of domestic violence). Instead, religious beliefs and social supports associated with church attendance may help urban mothers make the transition to marriage in communities where marriage has become increasingly infrequent.
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This review examines the role of religion, for better and worse, in marital and parent-child relationships according to peer reviewed studies from 1999-2009. A conceptual framework labeled "relational spirituality" is used to: (a) organize the breadth of findings into the three stages of the formation, maintenance, and transformation of family relationships, and (b) illustrate three in-depth sets of mechanisms to delve into unique ways religion may shape family bonds. Topics include union formation, fertility, spousal roles, marital satisfaction and conflict, divorce, domestic violence, infidelity, pregnancy, parenting children, parenting adolescents, and coping with family distress. Conclusions emphasize moving beyond markers of general religiousness and identifying specific spiritual beliefs and practices that could prevent or intensify problems in traditional and nontraditional families.
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Research on the intersection of sexuality, religion, and spirituality has primarily examined whether global levels of religiousness (e.g., service attendance) deter premarital and extramarital sexual activity. Virtually no empirical work has addressed whether specific spiritual beliefs about sexuality enhance marital sexuality. Using a community sample of 83 individuals married between 4 and 18 months, we found that greater perceptions of sexuality as sanctified predicted greater marital satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, sexual intimacy, and spiritual intimacy beyond global religiousness and demographics. The findings open a new line of research on religion and family life, and extend theories on the possible benefits of the sanctification of intimate relationships.
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Researchers have found that religious participation is correlated with marital satisfaction. Less is known about whether religion also benefits participants in nonmarital, intimate relationships or whether religious effects on relationships vary by gender. Using data from the first three waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that religious participation by fathers, irrespective of marital status, is consistently associated with better relationships among new parents in urban America; however, mothers' participation is not related to relationship quality. These results suggest that religious effects vary more by gender than by marital status. We conclude that men's investments in relationships appear to depend more on the institutional contexts of those relationships, such as participation informal religion.
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Sexual satisfaction, marital quality, and marital instability have been studied over the life course of couples in many previous studies, but less in relation to each other. On the basis of the longitudinal data from 283 married couples, the authors used autoregressive models in this study to examine the causal sequences among these 3 constructs for husbands and wives separately. Results of cross-lagged models, for both husbands and wives, provided support for the causal sequences that proceed from sexual satisfaction to marital quality, from sexual satisfaction to marital instability, and from marital quality to marital instability. Initially higher levels of sexual satisfaction resulted in an increase in marital quality, which in turn led to a decrease in marital instability over time. Effects of sexual satisfaction on marital instability appear to have been mediated through marital quality.
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The purpose of the present study was to present theological, philosophical, and psychological arguments for chastity as a virtue, and then test an empirical model linking religiosity to outcomes by way of values about chastity. Specifically, we tested a mediation model linking religiosity to outcomes via chastity values (beliefs about the importance of waiting until marriage to have sex and importance of sex within marriage as a bonding experience). This model was tested with a sample of single young adults (4,188) and a sample of married adults (2,531). Among single young adults, religiosity positively predicted abstinence beliefs, and abstinence beliefs negatively predicted unhappiness, risk taking, and risky sex. Among married adults, religiosity positively predicted both chastity values (i.e., importance of waiting until marriage to have sex and importance of sex within marriage as a bonding experience), while, in turn, both chastity values were positively linked to sexual frequency and sexual satisfaction, but only belief in marital sex as bonding was positively related to sexual satisfaction. Differences across religious affiliation were also discussed (comparing Catholics, Protestants, Latter-Day Saints, and those with no religious affiliation). We conclude that one way religious communities may promote chastity and positive psychosocial functioning is by teaching chastity values and providing structures to motivate and enable people to live consistently with them.
Book
The 1950s religious boom was organized around the male-breadwinner lifestyle in the burgeoning postwar suburbs. But since the 1950s, family life has been fundamentally reconfigured in the United States. How do religion and family fit together today? This book examines how religious congregations in America have responded to changes in family structure, and how families participate in local religious life. Based on a study of congregations and community residents in upstate New York, sociologist Penny Edgell argues that while some religious groups may be nostalgic for the Ozzie and Harriet days, others are changing, knowing that fewer and fewer families fit this traditional pattern. In order to keep members with nontraditional family arrangements within the congregation, these innovators have sought to emphasize individual freedom and personal spirituality and actively to welcome single adults and those from nontraditional families. Edgell shows that mothers and fathers seek involvement in congregations for different reasons. Men tend to think of congregations as social support structures, and to get involved as a means of participating in the lives of their children. Women, by contrast, are more often motivated by the quest for religious experience, and can adapt more readily to pluralist ideas about family structure. This, Edgell concludes, may explain the attraction of men to more conservative congregations, and women to nontraditional religious groups.
Book
While the scientific community has experienced a resurgence in the idea that there are important linkages between religion and family life and religion and health outcomes, this study is still in its early stages, scattered across multiple disciplines, and of uneven quality. To date, no book has featured both reviews of the literature and new empirical findings. Religion, Families, and Health fills this void by bringing together leading social scientists who provide a theoretically rich, methodologically rigorous, and exciting glimpse into a fascinating social institution that continues to be extremely important in the lives of Americans.
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Americans remain deeply ambivalent about teenage sexuality. Many presume that such uneasiness is rooted in religion. This book tackles such questions as: how exactly does religion contribute to the formation of teenagers' sexual values and actions? What difference, if any, does religion make in adolescents' sexual attitudes and behaviors? Are abstinence pledges effective? Who expresses regrets about their sexual activity and why? The book combines analyses of three national surveys with stories drawn from interviews with over 250 teenagers across America. It reviews how young people learn, and what they know about sex from their parents, schools, peers, and other sources. It examines what experiences teens profess to have had, and how they make sense of these experiences in light of their own identities as religious, moral, and responsible persons. The author's analysis discovers that religion can and does matter. However, the analysis finds that religious claims are often swamped by other compelling sexual scripts. Particularly interesting is the emergence of what the author calls a "new middle class sexual morality", which has little to do with a desire for virginity but nevertheless shuns intercourse in order to avoid risks associated with pregnancy and STDs. And strikingly, evangelical teens aren't less sexually active than their non-evangelical counterparts, they just tend to feel guiltier about it. In fact, the analysis finds that few religious teens have internalized or are even able to articulate the sexual ethic taught by their denominations. The only-and largely ineffective-sexual message most religious teens are getting is: "don't do it until you're married". Ultimately, the author concludes, religion may influence adolescent sexual behavior, but it rarely motivates sexual decision making.
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To the founding fathers of psychology, spiritual phenomena represented critically important topics for psychological study. Since the early part of the twentieth century, however, psychologists have tended to (a) ignore spirituality; (b) view spirituality as pathological; or (c) treat spirituality as a process that can be reduced to more basic underlying psychological, social, and physiological functions. Fortunately, this situation has begun to change (Weaver, Pargament, Flannelly, & Oppenheimer, 2006), for several good reasons. First, spirituality is a "cultural fact" (cf. Shafranske & Malony, 1996): the vast majority of Americans believe in God (90%), engage in prayer (90%), and feel that religion is very important or fairly important to them (84%) (Gallup, 2004; Poloma & Gallup, 1991). Second, as we will see, empirical studies have linked spirituality to a number of aspects of human functioning. Finally, in a more practical vein, the American Psychological Association has defined religiousness as a "cultural diversity" variable. Although it has received relatively less attention than other diversity variables, psychologists are no less ethically obligated to attend to this dimension and reduce potential biases in their professional work with clients of diverse religious backgrounds (see Principle D, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of APA, 1992).
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INTRODUCTION Family researchers have been developing measures to assess the quality of the marital relationship for over six decades (e.g., Hamilton, 1929). Indeed, the quality of the husband-wife relationship has been the focus of more research than any other single topic in the field of family study (Spanier & Lewis, 1980). Embedded in these studies are hundreds of varied scales and measures that were designed to assess some aspect of the quality of a marriage (Touliatos, Perlmutter, & Straus, 1990). Lack of consensus on what constitutes marital quality and the absence of any widely accepted and used instruments have contributed to this proliferation of measures. Even scales that enjoy wide use have come under persistent theoretical and methodological criticism (Huston & Robins, 1982; Norton, 1983; Sabatelli, 1988). This state of affairs reflects the different aims of the researchers developing the measures and the evolution over the last several decades of the theoretical and conceptual definitions of the quality of a marriage. The term "marital quality" has only recently been used to refer to concepts and measures that in the past have been called marital adjustment, satisfaction, and happiness (Spanier & Lewis, 1980). Marital satisfaction and happiness both refer to subjective evaluations of positive affect in the marital relationship by one (or both) of the spouses. Marital adjustment signifies both behavioral and evaluative aspects of a marital relationship. These include dyadic cohesion, satisfaction, consensus, interpersonal tensions, and troublesome dyadic differences (Spanier, 1976). A well-adjusted marriage is often characterized by high interaction and cohesion, low levels of disagreement, high levels of commitment to the relationship (i.e., a low likelihood of leaving the relationship), and good communication and problem-solving abilities. Adjustment is clearly seen as multidimensional, composed of several distinct, but closely related concepts (Spanier & Lewis, 1980). The behavioral and evaluative factors that define marital quality are assumed, based on experience in marital counseling and therapy, to be necessary for a harmonious relationship. Marital quality measures have been created with two quite different aims: the identification of troubled marriages-primarily a clinical aim, and the desire to test theories related to marital functioning and behavior-a basic research aim. There are no necessary theoretical reasons why measures that function well in one capacity cannot also be valid in the other. Practical and methodological matters, however, often play a more important role. For example, it is unlikely that a 250- item marital assessment scale would be used in a national interview survey of married persons in which the quality of the marital relationship is only one focus. This difference in objectives has been a key factor accounting for variation in concepts and methods used to develop the measures and in the criteria applied to evaluate them. This review focuses on issues of marital quality assessment in nonclinical research settings that use quantitative methods. However, the strong link between family therapy and marital quality research studies-many key researchers are also family therapists-makes it necessary to consider the influence of marital therapy. Research studies exploring marital quality have, with some notable exceptions, made use of interview or questionnaire data of married respondents collected in one-time (cross-sectional) surveys. This has been the case despite an increasingly awareness that valid answers to some key unsolved issues in the study of marriage over the life course require longitudinal data (Mattessich & Hill, 1987). It might be expected that reliable and valid measures of marital quality used in cross-sectional studies would be equally applicable to longitudinal samples. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many measurement and analysis issues are introduced when inferences are attempted from multiyear samples (Johnson, 1988). Panel analysis raises concerns about the reliability and stability of measures and their ability to reflect changes (Huston & Robins, 1982). The analysis of the dynamics of family development and change requires that the concepts and measures be analytically distinct, particularly when one aspect of the marital relationship is seen as having a causal effect on another (Norton, 1983). A study examining the effect of wife's employment on marital quality could not examine the intervening mechanisms, such as degree of marital interaction or disagreement, which mediate the effect of work on marital happiness or thoughts of divorce (Booth, Johnson, White, & Edwards, 1984) if these are combined in the measure of marital quality. There have been several reviews of measurement and conceptual issues in assessing the quality of the marital relationship (Sabatelli, 1988; Spanier, 1976; Glenn, 1990; Huston & Robins, 1982; Johnson, White, Edwards, & Booth, 1986; Hicks & Platt, 1970). A recent inventory of marital quality scales is also available (Touliatos, Perlmutter, & Straus,1990). None have focused on the conceptual and measurement issues raised by the increasing amount of life course research that focuses on the dynamics of the marital relationship. The purpose of this chapter is to critically examine a selected set of conceptual and methodological issues that have relevance to the study of marital quality over the life course.
Article
Religion appears to exert influence on numerous types of adolescent attitudes and actions. However, some researchers remain skeptical, attributing religious effects to selection processes, social desirability bias in survey responses, or a combination of the two. In this study we evaluate the evidence about social desirability and candidness explanations for apparent religious influences, and analyze data from a nationally representative dataset of American adolescents. Results suggest that while social desirability and embarrassment modestly diminish the likelihood of self-reporting some sensitive behaviors, they are neither associated with religiosity nor do they undermine apparent religious effects. We conclude that religious youth are not systematically at risk of providing unintentionally invalid or intentionally inaccurate self-reports of behaviors that are of a sensitive nature.
Article
Cross-sectional studies show that adults who grew up in conflict-ridden two-parent families or who experienced parental divorce report lower levels of psychological and marital well-being than do other adults. However, previous research has been unable to determine how parental marital conflict, divorce, and children's long-term outcomes are related. Using a 12-year longitudinal study, we find that the consequences of parental divorce depend on parental marital conflict prior to divorce. In high-conflict families, children have higher levels of well-being as young adults if their parents divorced than if they stayed together. But in low-conflict families, children have higher levels of well-being if their parents stayed together than if they divorced. In marriages that do not end in divorce, parental marital conflict is negatively associated with the well-being of offspring.
Article
Researchers frequently postulate a strong relationship between religiosity and marital stability. We incorporate a multidimensional specification of religiosity into event-history models of the religion-marital stability relationship. Results are based on panel data from the National Survey of Families and Households (N = 4,587 married couples). While no single dimension of religiosity adequately describes the effect of religious experience on marital stability, the frequency of religious attendance has the greatest positive impact on marital stability. When both spouses attend church regularly, the couple has the lowest risk of divorce. Spouse differences in church attendance increase the risk of dissolution. All significant religious affiliation influences disappear once demographic characteristics are controlled. The wife's religious beliefs concerning marital commitment and nonmarital sex are more important to the stability of the marriage than the husband's beliefs.
Article
This article contributes to recent work investigating the role of religious sanctification, that is, the process via which one's spouse or marital relationship is perceived as having divine character or sacred significance. We outline a series of theoretical arguments linking marital sanctification with specific aspects of marital quality. A recent probability sample of Texas adults is used to gauge the links between general religiousness, marital sanctification, and marital quality and functioning. Key findings include the following: (1) General religiousness bears a weak link with marital outcomes; (2) sanctification strongly predicts desirable marital outcomes; and (3) sanctification appears to buffer the deleterious effects of financial and general stress on marital quality. Study limitations and practical implications are discussed, and promising directions for future research are identified.
Article
This study examined whether generosity in marriage was associated with marital quality. The authors conceptualized generosity as a type of relationship maintenance behavior and used data from the new Survey of Marital Generosity (a national survey of married couples, N = 1,365 couples and 2,730 total participants). They found that generosity—defined here as small acts of kindness, displays of respect and affection, and a willingness to forgive one's spouse his or her faults and failings—was positively associated with marital satisfaction and negatively associated with marital conflict and perceived divorce likelihood.
Article
The most frequently utilized measures of relational maintenance (i.e., the five-factor relational maintenance strategies measure, or RMSM, and the revised seven-factor RMSM) suffer from fundamental measurement flaws. Therefore, this article describes a series of studies designed to identify weaknesses in these measures and offer an improvement — the Relational Maintenance Behavior Measure (RMBM). When sound item-construction practices are followed, neither prior RMSM is viable. However, the factor structure of the RMBM is stable across three samples. The RMBM and the five-factor RMSM were examined in association with the relational characteristics of satisfaction, liking, commitment, and love. It is argued that the RMBM is a psychometrically superior measure of the original maintenance dimensions identified in earlier research.
Article
This study examines the manner in which perceptions of relational maintenance strategies used in romantic dyads vary according to relationship type (married, engaged, seriously dating and dating) and gender. Additionally, this study investigates how perceptions of partners' maintenance behaviors differentially affect the relational characteristics of control mutuality, commitment, liking and satisfaction. Research assumptions were cast within a developmental framework. Five maintenance strategies were derived through factor analyses: positivity, assurances, openness, sharing tasks and social networks. Results indicate that relationship type moderately affected perceptions of partner maintenance strategies and gender weakly affected perceptions of maintenance behaviors. The findings also reveal that positivity, assurances and sharing tasks were consistent and strong predictors of control mutuality, commitment, liking and satisfaction.
Article
This study addresses two questions: Do religiously dissimilar couples argue more often than other couples? Are religious differences among partners associated with arguments concerning particular issues? We investigate these issues using data on 2,945 co-residing, first-time married couples from Wave 1 of the National Survey of Families and Households. Denominational homo/heterogamy, measured in several different ways, has little bearing on the frequency or types of marital disagreements. Men's religious attendance is inversely related to the overall frequency of disputes and to disagreements over housework, money, how time is spent, and sex, whereas women's attendance is not. Attendance (dis)similarities among partners are positively associated with the overall frequency of conflicts. Theological disparities between partners are linked with more frequent conflicts overall and also with disagreements over household labor and finances. Several implications and promising directions for future research are discussed.
Article
In this paper, we examine the question of whether religion—affiliation, beliefs, and practice—provides a source of marital strength and stability in the lives of American couples. Unlike most previous studies, we focus on religion and marital quality among 433 low-income married couples with co-residential minor children, using recently collected survey data on both spouses sampled in the Marital and Relationship Survey (MARS). Our working hypothesis is that religiosity is a positive force for marital quality among low-income couples, and that a practicing faith can buffer the negative effects of economic stress on marital quality. The results indicate that most low-income couples have unexpectedly high scores on the various dimensions of marital quality (e.g., commitment, emotional support, etc.). Religious affiliation and personal religious beliefs are less important for marital quality than if couples share similar beliefs about God’s divine plans for them and their relationship, if they pray together, or if they attend religious services together. On the other hand, the stress-buffering hypothesis received little support in our analysis. At a minimum, the results clearly highlight the potential role of religion in the marital lives of low-income couples. The implication is that faith-based organizations (including churches and synagogues) may have a particularly strong role to play in nurturing the spiritual lives and enhancing the quality of the intimate marital relationships of their flocks.
Article
A model for conceptualizing relationship commitment is presented and the development of a measure corresponding to this model described. Commitment is considered as two constructs: personal dedication and constraint commitment. In study one, items developed for the Commitment Inventory (CI) were given to a sample of 141 subjects. Item analyses resulted in selection of the items for the inventory. In study two, 279 subjects yielded data used in further testing of the CI. Tests were conducted on the reliability of the subscales, the factor structure of the CI, and the associations between the CI and various other measures of commitment. Further, the CI was examined in relation to various demographic variables and various measures of other relationship constructs. Overall, the research demonstrated that the CI shows promise as a reliable and valid instrument for measuring commitment. Implications are discussed for both the CI and the concept of commitment.
Article
This paper uses data from the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey to examine emotional satisfaction and physical pleasure from sex in intimate unions for adults in the U.S. Using perspectives from evolutionary biology and rational choice theory, we examine the effects of the following factors on emotional satisfaction and physical pleasure: time horizon expected for the relationship, sexual behavior within the relationship, and sexual exclusivity. We find a significant effect of measures for all 3 of these dimensions on emotional satisfaction with sex. For both men and women, time horizon and sexual exclusivity are more strongly tied to emotional satisfaction than they are to physical pleasure from sex, but sexual behavior has the same impact on emotional satisfaction as it does on physical pleasure.
Article
Understanding communication processes is the goal of most communication researchers. Rarely are we satisfied merely ascertaining whether messages have an effect on some outcome of focus in a specific context. Instead, we seek to understand how such effects come to be. What kinds of causal sequences does exposure to a message initiate? What are the causal pathways through which a message exerts its effect? And what role does communication play in the transmission of the effects of other variables over time and space? Numerous communication models attempt to describe the mechanism through which messages or other communication-related variables transmit their effects or intervene between two other variables in a causal model. The communication literature is replete with tests of such models. Over the years, methods used to test such process models have grown in sophistication. An example includes the rise of structural equation modeling (SEM), which allows investigators to examine how well a process model that links some focal variable X to some outcome Y through one or more intervening pathways fits the observed data. Yet frequently, the analytical choices communication researchers make when testing intervening variables models are out of step with advances made in the statistical methods literature. My goal here is to update the field on some of these new advances. While at it, I challenge some conventional wisdom and nudge the field toward a more modern way of thinking about the analysis of intervening variable effects.
Article
Psychologists have tended to view religion from a distance as a global, undifferentiated, stable process that is largely good or largely bad. This article presents a more fine-grained analysis of religion and its implications for well-being, positive and negative. The empirical literature points to five conclusions. First, some forms of religion are more helpful than others. Well-being has been linked positively to a religion that is internalized, intrinsically motivated, and based on a secure relationship with God and negatively to a religion that is imposed, unexamined, and reflective of a tenuous relationship with God and the world. Second, there are advantages and disadvantages to even controversial forms of religion, such as fundamentalism. Third, religion is particularly helpful to socially marginalized groups and to those who embed religion more fully in their lives. Fourth, religious beliefs and practices appear to be especially valuable in stressful situations that push people to the limits of their resources. Finally, the efficacy of religion is tied to the degree to which it is well integrated in the individual's life. These conclusions belie stereotypes or simple summaries about religion. Instead, they suggest that religion is a richer, more complex process than psychologists have imagined, one that has the potential both to help and to harm. Questions about the general efficacy of religion should give way to the more difficult but more appropriate question, How helpful or harmful are particular forms of religious expression for particular people dealing with particular situations in particular social contexts according to particular criteria of helpfulness or harmfulness?
Article
Although our societal attitudes about sexuality continue to be dominated by the religious view that sexual desires are to be restrained and sexual pleasures to be avoided, the degree to which religiosity actually influences the sexuality of women remains a matter of conjecture. The purpose of this investigation was to ascertain the relationship, if any, between religiosity and the sexual behaviors and sexual satisfaction of women. An anonymous questionnaire concerning sexual attitudes, sexual behaviors, and female sexual response was administered to 868 female professional nurses in 15 states. Significant differences were found between the degree of religiosity and the age at initiation of sexual intercourse and attitudes toward masturbation. Similar to earlier findings, there were no significant differences in sexual satisfaction between women with high‐frequency and low‐frequency church attendance.
Article
Introduction: The extent to which low sexual function or sexual dissatisfaction in women impacts on well-being remains uncertain, yet this is a critical issue in the controversy as to the benefits of pharmacotherapy for women seeking treatment for female sexual dysfunction. Aim. To explore the relationship between well-being and self-perceived satisfaction with sexual function in women and to determine if there is an independent effect of menopausal status or age. Design: A community-based cross-sectional study. Patients: A total of 421 women, aged 18 to 65 years were recruited from the community. Women were required to self-identify at study outset as being either satisfied or dissatisfied with their sexual life and be premenopausal or postmenopausal. Main outcome measures: Scores from the Psychological General Well-Being Index (PGWB), the Beck Depression Index (BDI) and a daily diary of sexual function. Results: A group of 349 women were included in the analysis. Total PGWB and domain scores of positive well-being and vitality were lower in dissatisfied women compared to satisfied women. PGWB total and domain scores of depressed mood, positive well-being and vitality were higher in older women. Menopause did not have an independent effect on well-being. Conclusions: Women who self-identify as having sexual dissatisfaction have lower psychological general well-being. These findings reinforce the importance of addressing sexual health and well-being in women as an essential component of their health care.
Article
Social scientists know little about the effect of religion and abstinence pledging on premarital sex beyond adolescence. Evidence from a sample of married young adults in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 2,079) reveals that premarital sex is widespread even among religious Americans and abstinence pledgers. Nevertheless, these individuals are much more likely than their counterparts to avoid premarital sex entirely. When they do have premarital sex, pledgers are more likely to restrict the behavior to their future spouse. Though contextual, exposure, and social control effects explain some of the influence of religion and abstinence pledging, religion and abstinence pledging appear to exert robust, direct effects on premarital sexual behavior.
Article
We use data from two national surveys of married individuals—one from 1980 and the other from 2000—to understand how three dimensions of marital quality changed during this period. Marital happiness and divorce proneness changed little between 1980 and 2000, but marital interaction declined significantly. A decomposition analysis suggested that offsetting trends affected marital quality. Increases in marital heterogamy, premarital cohabitation, wives' extended hours of employment, and wives' job demands were associated with declines in multiple dimensions of marital quality. In contrast, increases in economic resources, decision-making equality, nontraditional attitudes toward gender, and support for the norm of lifelong marriage were associated with improvements in multiple dimensions of marital quality. Increases in husbands' share of housework appeared to depress marital quality among husbands but to improve marital quality among wives.
Article
This study reports on in-depth interviews with 57 highly religious, middle-aged married couples representing the major Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) residing in New England and Northern California. The study uses grounded theory methods to create themes and a model describing the ways that religiosity influences marital conflict. Couples reported that religiosity affects the conflict in their marriage at three phases of the conflict process: (a) problem prevention, (b) conflict resolution, and (c) relationship reconciliation. Practitioners may assist religious couples that are struggling with marital conflict by encouraging them to look to religious beliefs and practices.
Article
The present study examined the relationships between several independent variables (ego development, commitment to the spouse, length of marriage, church attendance, and sex of subject) and three marital quality variables (marriage problems, expression of love, and dyadic adjustment) in a community sample of 72 married couples age 50 and up. Commitment to the spouse was the strongest and most consistent predictor of marital quality; commitment was negatively related to marriage problems and positively related to expression of love and dyadic adjustment. The other independent variables were generally unrelated to marital quality.
Article
Guided by a family stress perspective, we examined the hypothesis that discussing money would be associated with the handling of marital conflict in the home. Analyses were based on dyadic hierarchical linear modeling of 100 husbands' and 100 wives' diary reports of 748 conflict instances. Contrary to findings from previous laboratory-based surveys, spouses did not rate money as the most frequent source of marital conflict in the home. However, compared to non-money issues, marital conflicts about money were more pervasive, problematic, and recurrent, and remained unresolved, despite including more attempts at problem solving. Implications for professionals who assist couples in managing their relationships and family finances are discussed.
Article
The aim of this study was to understand the association between sense of purpose in life and sexual well-being in a cohort of midlife women. Participation in partnered sexual activities and indicators of sexual well-being (the engagement in and enjoyment of sexually intimate activities) were measured in a longitudinal cohort of 677 eligible women aged 40 to 65 years. At a single time point, women completed the Life Engagement Test, a measure of life purpose. Univariable and multivariable mixed models were used to assess the association between the Life Engagement Test and longitudinal sexual well-being. A higher sense of purpose in life was associated with higher levels of enjoyment (coefficient = 2.89, P < 0.001) but not with participation in partnered sexual activity (coefficient = 0.49, P = 0.63) or engagement in partnered sexually intimate activities (coefficient = 1.0, P = 0.30). Participation was associated with younger age, lower body mass index, being married, reporting any vaginal dryness, and better emotional well-being. Hormone therapy use approached, but did not reach significance in association with participation, with P = 0.05. Engagement in sexually intimate activities was associated with younger age, more social support, and better emotional well-being. Higher levels of enjoyment were associated with more social support, better emotional well-being, and less vaginal dryness. Menopause status was not associated with engagement or enjoyment, and only being 5 years or more postmenopausal was related to decreased participation. Higher sense of purpose in life is associated with more enjoyment of sexually intimate activities, adjusting for other known factors that influence sexual well-being and independent of demographic factors and menopause or hormone therapy status.
Article
This study assesses the role of religion in influencing sexual frequency and satisfaction among older married adults and sexual activity among older unmarried adults. The study proposes and tests several hypotheses about the relationship between religion and sex among these two groups of older Americans, using nationally representative data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. Results suggest that among married older adults, religion is largely unrelated with sexual frequency and satisfaction, although religious integration in daily life shares a weak, but positive, association with pleasure from sex. For unmarried adults, such religious integration exhibits a negative association with having had sex in the last year among women, but not among men.
Article
The Social Organization of Sexuality reports the complete results of the nation's most comprehensive representative survey of sexual practices in the general adult population of the United States. This highly detailed portrait of sex in America and its social context and implications has established a new and original scientific orientation to the study of sexual behavior. "The most comprehensive U.S. sex survey ever." —USA Today "The findings from this survey, the first in decades to provide detailed insights about the sexual behavior of a representative sample of Americans, will have a profound impact on how policy makers tackle a number of pressing health problems." —Alison Bass, The Boston Globe "A fat, sophisticated, and sperm-freezingly serious volume. . . . This book is not in the business of giving us a good time. It is in the business of asking three thousand four hundred and thirty-two other people whether they had a good time, and exactly what they did to make it so good." —Anthony Lane, The New Yorker New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
Article
America is a religious nation. The vast majority of Americans, when asked, profess a belief in God and affirm that religion is at least "fairly important" in their lives (Myers 2000: 285); about 60 percent of the population report membership in a religious organization and 45 percent state that they attend religious services at least monthly (Sherkat and Ellison 1999). Most American adults are currently married and almost all will marry at some time in their lives. About two-thirds of children live with their married (biological or adoptive) parents ( U.S. Census Bureau 2001). And marriage and a happy family life are almost universal goals for young adults.
Article
This study examined the association between relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction over time to provide evidence about possible causal explanations for the association between two variables. Eighty-seven individuals in long-term relationships completed measures of sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction at 2 times 18 months apart. There was only limited evidence, based on exploratory analysis, to support either the hypothesis that changes in a relationship satisfaction lead to changes in sexual satisfaction or the hypothesis that changes in sexual satisfaction lead to changes in relationship satisfaction. However, sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction wer found to change concurrently. The quality of intimate communication accounted for part of the concurrent changes in relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction. I discuss the results in terms of the need to develop more complex models depicting the longitudinal associations between relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction.
Journal of This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly
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Do you have the time? Changes in and implications of spouses' time together (Doctoral dissertation)
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Dew, J. (2007). Do you have the time? Changes in and implications of spouses' time together (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from etda .libraries.psu.edu
Sex and the soul: Juggling sexuality, spirituality, romance, and religion on America's college campuses
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Freitas, D. (2008). Sex and the soul: Juggling sexuality, spirituality, romance, and religion on America's college campuses. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Faithful attraction: Discovering intimacy, love, and fidelity in American marriage
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Sexuality and religion
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Hernandez, K. M., Mahoney, A., & Pargament, K. I. (2014). Sexuality and religion. In D. I. Tolman & L. M. Diamond (Eds.), APA handbook of sexuality and psychology, Vol. 2: Contextual Approaches (pp. 425-447).