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The relationship between family-of-origin and marital satisfaction

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The aim of this article is to explore the relationship between marital satisfaction and family-of-origin factors amongst couples with children. Locke and Wallace's Marital Adjustment Test and the McMaster Family Assessment Device were used to measure marital satisfaction and family-of-origin factors respectively. Family-of-origin factors, such as problem solving, communication, roles, affective involvement and behavioural control were investigated. The sample consisted of 47 married couples. A significant relationship was found between roles and affective responsiveness as family-of-origin factors and marital satisfaction, while roles as a family-of-origin factor played an important role in the wife as well as her husbands' marital satisfaction. The findings emphasise the importance of functioning in the family-of-origin as a potential determinant of future marital satisfaction.
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Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
http://www.hsag.co.za Health SA Gesondheid
Original Research
Article #441
The relationship between family-of-origin and marital satisfaction
Author s:
Anja Botha1
Henriëtte S. van den Berg1
Chris A.V. Venter2
A f l i a t i o n s :
1Department of
Psychology, University
of the Free State, South
Africa
2School for Psychosocial
Behavioural Sciences,
North-West University,
South Africa
Correspondence to:
Anja Botha
e-mail:
bothaa.hum@ufs.ac.za
Postal address:
PO Box 339, 1B 40,
University of the Free
State, South Africa
Keywords:
family-of-origin;
marital satisfaction;
Locke and Wallace’s
Marital Adjustment
Test; McMaster Family
Assessment Device;
wellness
Dates:
Received: 02 Sep. 2008
Accepted: 12 Feb. 2009
Published: 09 July 2009
How to cite this article:
Botha, A., Van de Berg,
H.S. & Venter, C.A.V.,
2009, 'The relationship
between family-of-origin
and marital satisfaction',
Health SA Gesondheid 14( 1),
Art. #441, 7 pages. DOI:
10.4102/h sag.v14i1.4 41
This article is available
at: www.hsag.co.za
© 2009. The Authors.
Licensee:
OpenJournals
Publishing.
This work
is licensed under the
Creative Commons
Attribution License.
1
ABSTRACT
The aim of this article is to explore the relationship between marital satisfaction and family-of-
origin factors amongst couples with children. Locke and Wallace’s Marital Adjustment Test and
the McMaster Family Assessment Device were used to measure marital satisfaction and family-
of-origin factors respectively. Family-of-origin factors, such as problem solving, communication,
roles, affective involvement and behavioural control were investigated. The sample consisted of 47
married couples. A signi cant relationship was found between roles and affective responsiveness
as family-of-origin factors and marital satisfaction, while roles as a family-of-origin factor played
an important role in the wife as well as her husbands’ marital satisfaction. The  ndings emphasise
the importance of functioning in the family-of-origin as a potential determinant of future marital
satisfaction.
OPSOMMING
Die doel van hierdie artikel is om die verwantskap tussen huweliksbevrediging en gesin-van-
oorsprong-faktore onder pare met kinders te ondersoek. Locke en Wallace se Marital Adjustment
Test en die McMaster Family Assessment Device is gebruik om onderskeidelik huweliksbevrediging
en gesin-van-oorsprong-faktore te meet. Gesin-van-oorsprong-faktore, soos probleemoplossing,
kommunikasie, rolle, affektiewe betrokkenheid en gedragsbeheer is ondersoek. Die steekproef het
uit 47 getroude pare bestaan. 'n Beduidende verwantskap is tussen rolle en affektiewe responsiwiteit
as gesin-van-oorsprong-faktore en huweliksbevrediging gevind, terwyl rolle as 'n gesin-van-
oorsprong-faktor 'n belangrike rol in die vrou sowel as die man se huweliksbevrediging gespeel het.
Die bevindinge beklemtoon die belangrikheid van funksionering in die gesin van oorsprong as 'n
potensiële determinant van toekomstige huweliksbevrediging.
TH E R E L A T I O N S H I P B E T W E E N F A M I L Y -O F -O R I G I N A N D M A R I T A L
S A T I S F A C T I O N
INTRODUCTION
It is cause for concern that approximately half of all rst marriages end in divorce (Bradbury, Fincham &
Beach 2000:964) and that the level of satisfaction in established marriages has been declining continuously
since the seventies (Rogers & Amato 1997:1098). Snyder and Lopez (2005:429) asserts that even in happy
marriages there is a gradual decline in satisfaction within the  rst decade of matrimony, and thereafter
marital satisfaction continually decreases. The extent of marital discord and con ict is also re ected in
alarmingly high divorce statistics in South Africa that reveal that almost two out of three marriages end
in long-term separation or divorce (South African Statistics 2004).
‘Marriages exist in highly complex, multifaceted environments, of course, and a full understanding of
how these environments interact and impinge upon marriage is just beginning to develop’ (Bradbury
et al. 2000:969). Combinations of interpersonal factors (such as marital problem-solving and affective
expression) and broader contextual processes (including the dynamics of the family-of-origin and family
life cycle and economic and work-related stressors) have been identi ed as potential determinants of
the quality of marital relationships (Halford, Kelly & Markman 1997:4). However, most of the existing
studies are conceptualised within a pathogenic paradigm emphasising factors that erode marital
satisfaction. As it is widely recognised that a ful lling marriage is not merely characterised by the
absence of marital dissatisfaction (Bradbury et al. 2000:973), more information is needed on the unique
qualities that contribute to marital satisfaction. The study on which this article is based differed from
existing studies on family-of-origin and marital satisfaction with respect to the fortogenic focus of the
study. A fortogenic focus highlights human strengths, resiliency factors and optimal human experiences
such as happy marriages opposed to the pathogenic focus that focuses on dysfunctions, risk factors
and human suffering such as marital con ict and divorce. In the current article, the authors integrated
the fortogenic perspective with the multigenerational perspective of adjustment in the family-of-origin
and how this adjustment affects the experience of marital satisfaction of couples. Therefore, this article
focuses on factors that promote marital satisfaction.
Jacobson and Addis (1993:8) are of the opinion that interventions promoting marital satisfaction must
occur when the potential for con ict is greater. Every phase in the life cycle presents various demands
and accompanying con icts to couples (Language 1998:14). However, marital satisfaction tends to
decline over time, and as most couples with children will have been married for some time, this age
group can provide better information than a newly-wed sample.
Numerous studies have shown the in uence of family-of-origin on various aspects of peoples’ lives,
including relationships (Conger et al. 2000; Whiston & Keller 2004:493). Thus, family-of-origin variables
may be a fruitful area to explore with regard to marital satisfaction. In this regard, the McMaster Family
Assessment Device will be useful, as it is a pragmatic, all-inclusive model of family assessment. This
article explores the relationship between spouses’ marital satisfaction and their appraisal of the quality
of the relationship of their family-of-origin with regard to McMaster’s six dimensions of family structure
and family interaction (Epstein, Baldwin & Bishop 1983:171), including communication, problem
solving, roles, affective responsiveness, affective involvement and behavioural control. The cross-effects
Vol. 14 No. 1 Page 1 of 7
Health SA Gesondheid
Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
http://www.hsag.co.za
Original Research
Article #441
Botha, Van den Berg & Venter
2
of the impact of the family-of-origin, that is the inuence of the
wife’s family-of-origin experiences on her husband and vice
versa, will also be determined.
Marital satisfaction in couples with children
Marital satisfaction is the degree of happiness, everything
considered, in one’s marriage (Locke & Wallace 1959:252).
Investigations that gather information pertaining to the factors
that inuence marital satisfaction have become prevalent since
the nineties (Bradbury et al. 2000:970). Marital satisfaction
is considered an important determinant of an individual’s
general well-being (Larson & Holman 1994:231). According to
Snyder and Lopez (2005:67), it appears that happily married
couples experience better well-being and report less feelings of
depression. Therefore, in the quest for well-being and happiness
it is important to determine the factors that inuence marital
satisfaction.
Goldenberg and Goldenberg (2002:10) report that married
couples are divorcing earlier than ever before with 38% of
couples divorcing within four years and 50% within seven
years. Couples with young children therefore seem to be at
increasingly greater risk for marital dissatisfaction. It appears
that, while children increase the stability of a marriage, they
also decrease marital satisfaction (Waite & Lillard 1991:950)
because couples with children have less time to spend on their
marriages (Cavanaugh 1993:345). Productivity in their careers
and involvement in the family or community are important tasks
for couples with children, and the approach used by each spouse
to achieve this productivity may lead to conict (Goldenberg &
Goldenberg 2004:27). Given that true intimacy is established
only after the age of 30 (Goldenberg & Goldenberg 2004:27), it
would appear that, during this time, relationships experience
either a gradual drifting apart or an increase in intimacy (Glick
& Kessler 1980:47).
The inuence of family-of-origin on marital
satisfaction
It is widely accepted that people are shaped by experiences
within their families of origin (Conger et al. 2000:3; Goldenberg
& Goldenberg 2004:455). According to Hovestadt et al. (1985:289)
the family-of-origin is seen as the unit in which the individual
has his or her physiological and emotional beginnings and in
which the person spent most of his or her childhood years. When
a couple experiences a lack of marital satisfaction, it often means
that one or both of the marriage partners still struggle to deal
with issues stemming from the family-of-origin (cf. Sabatelli &
Bartle-Haring 2003:161). The marriage system is by denition not
a closed system and it can be expected that functioning within
this system will be inuenced by all the other systems to which
the individual belongs.
The relationship between marriage partners is not determined
only by the functionality of the family as a whole (Freeman
1992), but various studies have indicated that marital problems
between parents also inuence their children’s future
relationships (Doucet & Aseltine 2003:819; Sabatelli & Bartle-
Haring 2003:160). De Wet (1985) and Naude (1990:18) reported
South African studies conrming the negative impact of the
family-of-origin on the ability to deal effectively with the roles
and responsibilities in intimate adult relationships.
Naude (1990:30) studied the marriages of South African couples
and mentioned that transference from childhood can have a
negative inuence on marital satisfaction. Research by Larson and
Holman (1994:230) conrms that the processes and interactions
in the family-of-origin predict the quality of a marriage more
accurately than a single incident, for example divorce. Factors
that inuence the quality of a marriage include frequent conict
in the family-of-origin (Doucet & Aseltine 2003:835), the extent
to which communication skills are acquired in the family-of-
origin (Sanders, Halford & Behrens 1999:10), and the extent to
which the backgrounds of the respective families of origin differ,
resulting in greater adjustments that both partners have to make
(Du Rand 1991:71).
Sabatelli and Bartle-Haring (2003:159) were of the rst researchers
to study the cross-effects of family-of-origin factors. They found
that the wife’s family-of-origin experiences inuence both her
and her husband’s marital adjustment. However, the husband’s
family-of-origin inuences only his adjustment. Further, it
became apparent from the research by these authors that the
inuence of the family-of-origin on marital adjustment extends
into middle age.
The majority of the above-mentioned studies have been
conceptualised within a pathogenic paradigm. These studies
frequently focus on parental divorce (Amato 1996:628; Sanders
et al. 1999:3), dysfunctional attachment (Klohnen & Bera
1998:219), lack of support from parents and parents-in-law, and
dysfunction within the family (Larson & Holman 1994:230).
McMaster model of family functioning and
family-of-origin
The present study differs from the aforementioned studies on
marital satisfaction in its fortogenic approach as well as the use of
a different theoretical approach to study family-of-origin factors,
namely the McMaster model of family functioning (Epstein et
al. 1983:445). Several studies have been conducted to investigate
the relationship between roles and marital satisfaction, but other
researchers rarely dene roles in the same way as the McMaster
model does. The McMaster model of family functioning is
a pragmatic, all-inclusive model of family assessment and
treatment that was developed over a period of 30 years (Miller
et al. 2000:169). The model has six dimensions that are used
to describe family structure, organisation and transactional
patterns (Epstein et al. 1983:448). These dimensions include
problem solving, communication, roles, affective involvement
and behavioural control. Epstein and Bishop (1991:448) contend
that healthy families do not necessarily have fewer problems
than dysfunctional families, but they maintain that healthy
families are more adept at solving their problems. Freeman
(1992) supports this viewpoint and emphasises that love, care
and commitment are not entirely absent in unhappy marriages.
Research that makes use of the McMaster model has dealt
mostly with mood disorders, medical conditions, children and
therapeutic treatment (Miller et al. 2000:181). The six dimensions
of McMaster’s model have not yet been studied together in
relation to marital satisfaction. Furthermore, studies on aspects
found in McMaster’s model, such as behavioural control,
affective involvement or affective responsiveness and marital
satisfaction, could not be traced. This is understandable, as these
terms are generally not used outside of the McMaster’s model.
Therefore, comparisons between different research studies
should be approached with caution.
Although the McMaster model is based on a problem-centred
systems approach, it also emphasises the optimal development
of the individual (Epstein & Bishop 1991:447) and deems
it important to understand both problems and strengths of
the family system. A fortogenic approach would thus not
be in conict with the underlying principles of this model.
The current article attempts to determine which of the six
dimensions (problem solving, communication, roles, affective
responsiveness, affective involvement and behavioural control)
inuence marital satisfaction. There are no recent South African
studies that approach marital satisfaction in terms of family-
of-origin factors, according to a search conducted on the SA
Studies, Academic Search Premier and PsycINFO databases on
August 8, 2008. However, Sabatelli and Bartle-Haring (2003:163)
have studied these factors among American middle-aged
couples. While this article aims to determine the cross-effects
Vol. 14 No. 1 Page 2 of 7
Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
http://www.hsag.co.za Health SA Gesondheid
Original Research
Article #441
The relationship between family-of-origin and marital satisfaction
3
as determined in the above-mentioned study, different research
instruments will be employed. Regardless of this, it remains
meaningful and important to compare the results of the two
studies.
The purpose of this study is rstly to explore the applicability
of the McMaster model of family functioning in determining
a relationship between couples’ level of marital satisfaction
and their own family-of-origin factors. The above-mentioned
relationship will be explored for the group as a whole and for
males and females separately. Secondly, the inuence of the
relationship of the husband’s family-of-origin on the wife’s
marital satisfaction, as well as the relationship of the wife’s
family-of-origin factors on the husband’s marital satisfaction,
will be investigated. The target group of the study on which this
article is based comprised white couples with children.
METHOD
A non-experimental research design was employed during the
study reported here (Huysamen 1993:26). In order to determine
the relationship between the variables, the following was done:
Firstly, the relationship between the total group’s level of marital
satisfaction (criterion variable) and their own family-of-origin
factors (predictor variable) was investigated. Following that,
these relationships were investigated independently for males
and females. Secondly, the relationship between the husband’s
family-of-origin factors and his wife’s marital satisfaction, as
well as the relationship between the wife’s family-of-origin and
her husband’s marital satisfaction, was investigated.
Measuring instruments
A biographical questionnaire was used to obtain demographic
information such as age, gender, marital status of parents and
number of siblings as well as information about current family
size, number of previous marriages and number of years
married.
Locke and Wallace’s (1959) 15-item Marital Adjustment Test
was used to measure marital satisfaction (Fincham & Bradbury
1993:444). An individual’s score is obtained by totalling the raw
scores. A high score indicates better adjustment, with a maximum
score of 158. The items include a variety of dimensions of marital
functioning, among others management of nances, conict,
relationship with one’s in-laws, leisure time, friendship, sexual
relationship, life philosophy and trust (Schutte & Molouff 1995).
According to Fincham and Bradbury (1993:444), the instrument
has a split-half reliability of 0.90 and is considered a widely used,
reliable and valid measure in spite of the age of the measuring
scale.
The McMaster Family Assessment Device was used to measure
family functioning in the following six areas (Miller et al.
2000:170):
Problem solving indicates the family’s ability to solve •
problems in a manner that maintains effective functioning.
Communication indicates the way information is exchanged •
between family members.
Roles shows the repeated patterns of behaviour individuals •
employ to full family functions.
Affective responsiveness indicates the ability of a family to •
respond to stimuli with the appropriate quality and quantity
of emotion.
Affective involvement gives an indication of the extent to •
which the family is genuinely interested in other individual
members.
Behavioural control shows the extent to which the family •
has dened the standards of acceptable behaviour that each
member should maintain.
The questionnaire consists of 60 items. An average score is
determined after the raw scores of the items have been totalled.
A minimum score of 1 and a maximum score of 4 is possible for
each scale. A higher score is indicative of greater dysfunction.
In an American sample, alpha-coefcients ranging from 0.72 to
0.92 for the various sub-scales have been found by Epstein et al.
(1983:176).
The internal consistency of all the subscales was subsequently
investigated for the current sample, and Cronbach’s
α-coefcients (SPSS Incorporated, 2001) are reported in Table 1.
The ά-coefcients show that the majority of the variables have
high levels of internal consistency. Only affective involvement
(0.60) and behavioural control (0.649) show relatively low
levels of consistency, with coefcients lower than 0.7. However,
according to Nunnally and Bernstein (1994:251) ά-coefcients
higher than 0.6 are acceptable for non-cognitive constructs.
Sample
A snowball sample (Huysamen 1993:46) of 47 married couples
was obtained with the assistance of pre-primary school
principals, ministers and business managers in Bloemfontein, a
South African city with approximately 300 000 inhabitants. The
respondents were selected from a homogeneous group of white,
married couples (with both partners between the ages of 29 and
40) who had at least one child. Married couples with children
were targeted as statistics and proved these couples to be at risk
for marital dissatisfaction.
The couples had been married for an average number of nine
years, with a standard deviation of approximately 3.5 years. They
had an average of two children and an average of 2.5 siblings
(family-of-origin). The average age was 34.57 years (men) and
33.28 years (women). The group consisted primarily of highly
educated people, with 71 individuals (75.5% of the total group)
coming from the professional, semi-professional, technical,
managerial and executive occupational group.
Data collection and statistical analysis
The questionnaires were administered in the home language of
participants. The respondents were ensured of the condentiality
of all information. Both measures were self-report questionnaires
and were completed individually by respondents after they
had received detailed instructions from the test administrator.
Furthermore, each couple was afforded the opportunity to
receive feedback on their questionnaire. Questionnaires were
distributed to 90 couples, but only 47 were returned. The
response rate was 52%.
Pearson’s product moment correlations were calculated to
investigate the relationship between the variables. Furthermore,
to determine whether there is a statistically signicant
difference in this relationship in terms of gender, Fisher’s
r- to Z-transformation was used (Howell 2007:681). Besides
determining the simple relationship between the family-of-
origin factors and marital satisfaction, a hierarchical regression
analysis technique was used to determine the amount of variance
in the criterion variable (marital satisfaction) accounted for by
the predictor variables (family-of-origin factors).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) for
both the criterion and the predictor variables are indicated in
Table 1.
The average marital satisfaction scores for men and women
indicate relatively high levels of marital satisfaction within
the sample (the maximum is 158). In addition, it appears that
functioning with respect to most family-of-origin factors is good,
given that the scores are closer to 1 (healthy functioning) than to
4 (dysfunction). For both males and females, functioning with
respect to problem solving was the weakest and behavioural
control was the best. Moreover, the scores of both groups on the
general functioning scale indicate moderate adjustment.
Vol. 14 No. 1 Page 3 of 7
Health SA Gesondheid
Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
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Original Research
Article #441
Botha, Van den Berg & Venter
4
Relationship between marital satisfaction and
family-of-origin factors
Using Pearson’s product moment correlation to indicate the
relationship between marital satisfaction and family-of-origin
factors, the following was found: As can be inferred from Table
2, signicant correlations between roles and marital satisfaction
(on the 1% level) were found for the total group, as well as
between affective responsiveness and marital satisfaction (on the
5% level). Both coefcients were negative; therefore, the more
clearly the roles within the family-of-origin were dened, and
the more apt their emotional responsiveness was, and the higher
the level of marital satisfaction the person experienced. When
the group was examined in terms of gender, no statistically
signicant relationships between family-of-origin factors and
marital satisfaction were found for men. In the case of women,
the roles scale is signicantly correlated to marital satisfaction
(1% level). As was the case with the total group, this is a negative
relationship; hence, the more clearly the roles within the family-
of-origin were dened, the higher the level of marital satisfaction
the wife experienced. On examination of the effect sizes of these
correlations, it appears that they have medium to large effect
sizes and are thus of moderate practical signicance. According
to the calculated z-values, there are no signicant differences
between men and women in terms of the relationship between
family-of-origin factors and marital satisfaction.
In order to determine the extent to which family-of-origin
factors (predictors) accurately predict marital satisfaction, a
multiple regression analysis was performed for the total group
and thereafter by gender. The results are shown in Table 3.
The R² value for the total group was 0.1562 and is signicant on
the 5% level (F7;85 = 2.25). Thus, it can be deduced that 15.62%
of the variance in marital satisfaction for the total group is
accounted for by the predictors. The multiple regression analysis
by gender indicates that for women a signicant percentage
(F7;39 = 2.64) of variance in marital satisfaction is accounted for
by family-of-origin factors. According to the R² value, 32.12% of
the variance is accounted for. For men, family-of-origin factors
only accounted for 17.31% of the variance in marital satisfaction
and the result was not statistically signicant. For the total group
and for the women, the results were further investigated by a
hierarchical regression analysis. The results for the total group
appear in Table 4.
It is clear that only one family-of-origin factor, namely roles, is
signicant on the 1% level. Taking the guidelines for effect sizes
into account (see ), it is clear that this result has a medium effect,
indicating that it is of moderate practical signicance. Therefore,
it appears that when the family-of-origin denes its roles clearly,
later in life it makes a positive contribution to marital satisfaction
of children who grew up within that family.
A hierarchical regression analysis was preformed for the women.
The results appear in Table 5.
On examining the contribution of the individual variables to R²
for women, it is clear that two family-of-origin factors, namely
roles (on the 1% level) and affective involvement (on the 5%
level) contribute signicantly to the percentage of variance
accounted for in marital satisfaction. Taking the guidelines for
effect sizes into account, it is clear that affective involvement has
a small to medium effect, whereas roles have a large effect. The
extent to which the roles within the family-of-origin are clearly
dened thus plays a prominent role in the marital satisfaction
of women. Moreover, it appears that affective involvement (the
extent to which the family-of-origin was genuinely interested in
the woman’s life) makes a positive contribution to her marital
satisfaction.
TABLE 1
Marit al satisf actio n and famil y-of- origin factor s for the to tal samp le and by gen der
NumBEr of
iTEms
Α-coEfficiENT ToTAL group mEN WomEN
Variable xSxsxs
Marital Satisfaction 15 0.725 115.98 22.10 115.77 21.91 116.19 22.52
Family-of-origin factors:
Problem solving 6 0.835 2.30 0.62 2.35 0.59 2.25 0.64
Communication 9 0.887 2.20 0.65 2.22 0.59 2.18 0.70
Roles 11 0.740 2.05 0.43 2.08 0.42 2.02 0.45
Affective responsiveness 6 0.829 2.18 0.68 2.26 0.72 2.10 0.64
Affective involvement 7 0.601 2.01 0.45 2.01 0.41 2.02 0.48
Behavioural control 9 0.649 1.78 0.41 1.86 0.43 1.70 0.39
General functioning 12 0.901 1.98 0.59 2.04 0.58 1.93 0.61
TABLE 2
Corre lation c oef cients f or marit al satis facti on and fami ly-of -ori gin fact ors for th e
total gro up (N=9 4) and by gend er (n=47)
F a mi ly - oF - or i gi n
fAcTors
mAriTAL sATisfAcTioN Z
Total group Men Women
Problem solving -0.15 -0.14 -0.17 0.145
Communication -0.16 -0.15 -0.17 0.098
Roles -0.33** -0.19 -0.47** 1.486
Affective responsiveness -0.24* -0.24 -0.24 0.000
Affective involvement -0.19 -0.28 -0.11 -0.832
Behavioural control -0.03 0.01 -0.07 -0.280
General functioning -0.20 -0.16 -0.24 0.393
* p ≤ 0.05 (crit ical z: 1.6 449); * * p ≤ 0.01 (crit ical z: 2. 3263)
p = 0.1: small effec t ; p = 0.3: mediu m effec t; p = 0.5: lar ge effe ct
TABLE 3
Results o f the multi ple regr ession a nalysi s for the tot al group a nd by gende r
Group νF p
Total group 0.1562 7; 85 2.25 0.0379*
Men 0.1731 7; 38 1.14 0.3613
Women 0.3212 7; 39 2.64 0.0249*
* p ≤ 0.05
Vol. 14 No. 1 Page 4 of 7
Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
http://www.hsag.co.za Health SA Gesondheid
Original Research
Article #441
The relationship between family-of-origin and marital satisfaction
5
Pearson’s product moment correlation coefcient was calculated
to investigate the cross-effects of the relationship between the
wife’s family-of-origin factors and her husband’s marital
satisfaction, as well as the husband’s family-of-origin factors
and the wife’s marital satisfaction. The results appear in Table 6.
From Table 6, it appears that the correlation between roles as the
wife’s family-of-origin factor and the marital satisfaction of her
husband is signicant on the 5% level. Approximately 9% of the
variance in the husband’s marital satisfaction is accounted for
by roles as his wife’s family-of-origin factor. The coefcient is
negative, indicating that the better dened the roles in the wife’s
family-of-origin were, the greater the level of satisfaction her
husband will experience in their marriage. The corresponding
effect of this correlation was of medium size; therefore, the
result is of moderate practical value. No signicant relationship
was found between any of the husband’s family-of-origin
factors and his wife’s marital satisfaction.
A multiple regression analysis was performed to explore the
extent to which the wife’s collective family-of-origin factors
could successfully predict the marital satisfaction of her
husband, and also the extent to which the husband’s collective
family-of-origin variables could successfully predict the wife’s
marital satisfaction (see Table 7). However, no signicant cross-
effects could be found for the husband or wife’s family-of-origin
factors and the marital satisfaction of their part ners. Given that
no signicant cross-effects were found, no further analysis was
conducted.
CONCLUSION
In this study, it was found that there is a relationship between
certain family-of-origin factors and marital satisfaction. Sabatelli
and Bartle-Haring (2003:160) answered the question regarding
TABLE 4
Contributions of the individual variables to R² for the total group
VAriABLEs iN ANALysis VAriABLE omiTTEd coNTriBuTioN To F F²
1. pr+km+rl+ar+ab+gb+af - 0.1562 - - -
2. pr+km+rl+ar+ab+gb af 0.1561 0.0001 0.010
3. pr+km+rl+ar+ab+af gb 0.1285 0.0277 2.827
4. pr+km+rl+ar+gb+af ab 0.555 0.0007 0.071
5. pr+km+rl+ab+gb+af ar 0.1384 0.0178 1.816
6. pr+km+ar+ab+gb+af Rl 0.0680 0.0882 9.000** 0.11
4. pr+rl+ar+ab+gb+af km 0.1514 0.0048 0.490
5. km+rl+ar+ab+gb+af pr 0.1561 0.0001 0.010
Key: [pr = Problem solving; km = Communication; rl = Roles;
ar = Affective responsiveness; ab = Affective involvement;
gb = Behavioural control and af = General functioning].
** p ≤ 0.01; * p ≤ 0.05
= 0.01: small effect; = 0.15: medium effect; = 0.35: large effect
TABLE 5
Contri bution s of the ind ividual v ariabl es to R² sat isfact ion for wo men
VAriABLEs iN ANALysis VAriABLE omiTTEd coNTriBuTioN To F f²
1. pr+km+rl+ar+ab+gb+af - 0.3212 - - -
2. pr+km+rl+ar+ab+gb af 0.3082 0.0130 1.667
3. pr+km+rl+ar+ab+af gb 0.2980 0.0232 2.974
4. pr+km+rl+ar+gb+af ab 0.2772 0.0440 5.64* 0.07
5. pr+km+rl+ab+gb+af ar 0.3163 0.0049 0.628
6. pr+km+ar+ab+gb+af rl 0.0868 0.2344 30.051** 0.35
4. pr+rl+ar+ab+gb+af km 0.3124 0.0088 1.128
5. km+rl+ar+ab+gb+af pr 0.3211 0.0001 0.0128
Key: [pr = Problem solving; km = communication;
rl = Roles; ar = Affective responsiveness; ab = Affective involvement;
gb = Behavioural control and af = General functioning].
** p ≤ 0.01; * p ≤ 0.05
TABLE 6
Correlation coefcients between marital satisfaction of the man/woman and the
family-of-origin factors of the woman/man
Family-oF-origin mAriTAL sATisfAcTioN
Women Men
Problem solving -0.07 -0.16
Communication -0.04 -0.11
Roles -0.07 -0.30*
Affective responsiveness -0.15 -0.09
Affective involvement -0.09 -0.07
Behavioural control 0.16 -0.21
General functioning -0.03 -0.14
* p ≤ 0.05
TABLE 7
Results of the multiple regression analysis regarding the prediction of marital status
based on family-of-origin factors
Group ΝF p
Men 0.1237 7; 39 0.79 0.6027
Women 0.1108 7; 38 0.68 0.6909
whether family-of-origin factors can affect adjustment in
marriage, even into middle-age. Consistent with their ndings,
it was found that the patterns of interaction established in the
family in which the individual grew up could play a role in
marital satisfaction well into adulthood.
A relationship was found between roles and marital satisfaction.
Furthermore, roles accounts for a signicant amount of the
Vol. 14 No. 1 Page 5 of 7
Health SA Gesondheid
Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences
http://www.hsag.co.za
Original Research
Article #441
Botha, Van den Berg & Venter
6
variance in marital satisfaction in middle age. The more clearly
the roles in the family-of-origin were, the higher an individual’s
marital satisfaction is likely to be (Epstein et al. 1983:172). These
roles include the provision of resources, support and care, the
sexual satisfaction of the parents, the management of systems
and the acquisition of life skills (Epstein & Bishop 1991:460).
It may be that children in such families experience a secure
environment (i.e. their needs are met) and that the skills they
acquire in their families enable them to choose good/appropriate
marriage partners. They may also learn at an early age that each
family member has certain responsibilities and functions to
full. Therefore, they are able to meet the needs of their partner
in a marriage and assume responsibility for establishing marital
happiness. Furthermore, there is a relationship between affective
responsiveness and marital satisfaction. If the individual learns
to express a full range of emotions in an appropriate manner
in his or her family-of-origin, his or her marital satisfaction
will also be higher (Epstein et al. 1983:173). The appropriate
expression of emotion encourages communication, couples
continually reafrm their love and appreciation for each other,
misunderstandings are cleared up and problems are solved.
It is surprising that no signicant relationships were found
between any of the other family-of-origin factors and marital
satisfaction, given that various researchers have already shown
that both problem solving and communication skills play an
important role in the success of a long-term relationship (Conger
& Conger 2002:372; Kaslow & Robison 1996:155; Sanders et al.
1999:6). Although these researchers did not necessarily direct
their studies to family-of-origin factors, the skills that they
investigated are learnt in the family in which the individual grew
up (Du Rand 1991:71). The use of a small homogenous sample
could have affected the results in that a more diverse sample
would have evidenced more family-of-origin factors playing a
role in marital satisfaction.
If further appears that there is a relationship between roles as
the wife’s family-of-origin factor and her marital satisfaction.
Both roles and affective involvement account for a signicant
percentage of the variance in a wife’s marital satisfaction. The
extent to which roles were clearly dened in her original family,
and the extent to which her family was genuinely interested in
her activities contribute to her marital satisfaction. According
to Bartle-Haring and Sabatelli (1998:909), there is a direct
relationship between interaction within the family-of-origin
and marital adjustment. It may be that their genuine interest in
her enhanced her sense of self-worth and that she therefore has
more self-condence in her ability to make her own marriage a
success. Affective involvement possibly plays a role in marital
satisfaction because the wife’s parents or family still supports
her and remains involved in her life. Her family-of-origin is thus
an important social support system that can contribute to her
satisfaction in marriage. A wife’s family-of-origin accounts for a
signicant percentage of variance in her marital satisfaction.
The results of the current research differ from those of Sabatelli
and Bartle-Haring (2003:166) in the sense that no signicant
relationship was found between the husband’s family-of-
origin and his marital satisfaction. Sabatelli and Bartle-Haring’s
sample also consisted of educated white people. It was an
American group, however, and their average age was 49 years
(approximately 15 years older than the current sample).
It was found that a correlation exists between roles as the wife’s
family-of-origin factor and the husband’s marital satisfaction.
The fact the wife learnt in her family-of-origin to full family
functions effectively may contribute to her being able to meet the
needs of her husband, thereby increasing his satisfaction.
The implications for practice are twofold: On the one hand,
interventions with respect to the family-of-origin factors, more
specically the dening and assigning of roles, increase both
the husband’s and the wife’s satisfaction. On the other hand,
parents should be informed about the contribution they can
make to ensure the future marital satisfaction of their children
by ensuring that healthy family functioning is promoted. Aside
from roles, the expression of appropriate emotions and genuine
interest is also important and should be encouraged in family
therapy.
In the light of the number of divorces in South Africa, it is
important to work both preventatively (especially in critical
periods such as within the rst seven years of marriage) and to
ensure effective interventions for couples who undergo marital
therapy. Much research regarding the marriages of couples with
children is still required, and factors that contribute to effective
interventions may become clearer.
The study contributed to research in that factors that promote
marital satisfaction and well-being were identied. The
importance of the family-of-origin, especially in the marital
satisfaction of the wife, has been highlighted. There is a lacuna
in recent research dealing with family-of-origin factors in South
African couples, despite the fact that research overseas indicates
that such factors can no longer be ignored (Doucet & Aseltine
2003:819; Larson & Holman 1994:228).
Limitations of the current study include the use of a small
snowball sample, the use of self-report measures and the cross-
sectional design. Not only do these factors pose a threat to
internal validity, but also the sample may not be representative
of the cohort (Huysamen 1993:102). Due to the small sample the
results cannot be generalised, but at least the model is conrmed
within the South African context in the absence of recent local
studies concerning family-of-origin. However, it cannot be
denied that more comprehensive studies would be invaluable
in this eld.
Future studies can replicate and expand on the ndings of the
current research. The sample consisted of highly educated and
predominantly professional people. According to Rogers and
Amato (1997:1098), well-qualied people will experience greater
marital satisfaction. The inuence of family-of-origin factors in
middle- and lower-class populations can be investigated in the
future. It will also be important to conduct cross-cultural research
because the effect the family-of-origin has on the individual may
differ from culture to culture.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Sincere thanks to Dr Lyzette Hoffman for editorial assistance.
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The family of origin plays an essential role in Iranian society. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between family of origin functioning and intrapersonal and interpersonal skills among Iranian Muslim men and women in Iran. For this correlation study, 193 men and 277 women were recruited using available sampling from a Muslim population. To collect the data, the Family Assessment Device (FAD), Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Skills Scale (IISCS) were administered. Analyzing the data using stepwise regression indicated no significant difference between the mean scores for the FAD and the IISCS in terms of age, gender, education, duration of the marriage, and the number of children. However, the correlation between predictor variables of the family of origin functioning and predicted variables of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills among Muslim men and women showed to be significant. In addition, the construct of intrapersonal skills was highly correlated with the construct of family roles. This study adds to the literature on family of origin by examining the relationship between family of origin functioning and intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and shows the importance of family of origin functioning for Iranian couples. In addition, it has some implications for researchers and practitioners.
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This study investigated the psychosocial well-being of a group of South African families by determining the prevalence of psychosocial well-being indicators. A cross-sectional survey design and a purposive, voluntary sampling technique were used. Data on family well-being were collected from 772 youths attending five secondary schools located in the Northern province of South Africa (females = 64%, majority ethnicity = African: 67%). Data were captured and statistically analysed utilising the PASW 18.0 program (PASW, 2010). Structural equation modelling (SEM) methods implemented in AMOS (Arbuckle, 2009), were used to test the measurement models. The results supported a two-factor model of family psychosocial well-being consisting of family functioning and family feelings. Family functioning included family relational patterns, family functioning style and family hardiness, while the second factor, family feelings, included family satisfaction and attachment.
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The Psychometric Properties and Clinical Use of Scales. Delirium and Dementia. Substancerelated Disorders. Somatoform Disorders and Measurement of Pain and Related Phenomena. Dissociative Disorders. Sexual Disorders. Eating Disorders. Sleep Disorders. Impulse Control Disorders. Relationship Problems. Other Conditions of Clinical Interest. Measures of Global Functioning. Index.
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Discusses the outcome and process research on couple therapy and integrates the articles special section "Couples and Couple Therapy" into the discussion. All tested couple treatments show statistically significant effects relative to control groups, but there are no reliable differences between different theoretical models. Moreover, all tested approaches leave substantial numbers of couples unimproved or at least still somewhat distressed. A discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of various designs concludes that within-model comparisons have been more productive in producing knowledge than between-model comparisons. Recommendations for future research include developing a technology that would make possible matching studies focusing on Aptitude × Treatment interactions. Also, there needs to be greater emphasis on basic research and prevention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Using a multigenerational-systemic model of individual and family development, we propose a model connecting parents' experiences of family of origin, parents' marital adjustment, and parents' psychosocial adjustment to adolescents' experiences of their family of origin. A sample of middle-aged parents and their late-adolescent children were questioned about their perceptions of the dynamics within their respective families of origin. Additionally, the middle-aged adults were given standardized measures of personal and marital adjustment. Using structural equation modeling for the path analysis, we found limited support for the proposed model.
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This study uses national longitudinal data to explain the intergenerational transmission of divorce. Parental divorce is associated with an increased risk of offspring divorce, especially when wives and both spouses have experienced the dissolution of their parents' marriage. Offspring age at marriage, cohabitation, socioeconomic attainment, and prodivorce attitudes mediate modest proportions of the estimated effect of parental divorce. In contrast, a measure of interpersonal behavior problems mediates the largest share of the association. The findings suggest that parental divorce elevates the risk of offspring divorce by increasing the likelihood that offspring exhibit behaviors that interfere with the maintenance of mutually rewarding intimate relationships.
This work explores the field of marital and family therapy. It covers a broad range of topics, including the development and definition of family therapy, the functional and dysfunctional family, the major schools of family therapy, and results and guidelines for recommending family treatment.
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Based on a developmental contextual perspective advocated by Vondracek, Lerner, and Schulenberg, this article provides a comprehensive review of the research published since 1980related to family of origin influences on career developmentandoccupational choice. Because individuals are most likely to seek assistance with career decisions from family members, it is important that counseling psychologists understand how families can have a positive influence and facilitate career development. Influential family contextual factors are identified within four developmentallevels (i.e., children, adolescents, college students/young adults, and adults). Across the lifespan, both family structure variables (e.g., parents’ occupations) and family process variables (e.g., warmth, support, attachment, autonomy) were found to influence a host of career constructs; however, the process by which families influence career development is complex and is affected by many contextual factors such as race, gender, and age. Based on this comprehensivereview, implicationsfor counselingresearch andpracticeare discussed.
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This article reports on the second phase of a study conducted in the United States of couples married between 25 and 46 years. Responses of these 57 couples closely match those received from the original group of 20 couples in terms of the essential ingredients for a long-term satisfying marriage. Further validation of the efficacy of the data is derived from recent similar studies that are all part of an international research project conducted in Sweden, Germany, and Israel. Common characteristics, which emerge despite differences in religion, socioeco-nomic status, ethnicity, geographic locale, and other demographic variables, are discussed.
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