Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Bill Buhrow, PsyD
The purpose of this study was to examine the complexities of how religious attendance, personal religious activity, and importance of religion are related to marital adjustment and emotional, sexual, and spiritual intimacy. Previous research suggests that church attendance is related to higher marital adjustment; however, the relationship between sexual satisfaction and religiosity appears to be minimal, although Christian authors often suggest a link. The Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS), and the Emotional, Sexual, and Spiritual Intimacy Scale (ESSI) were administered to a sample of 88 married individuals. One-way ANOVAs found that religious attendance was not related to marital adjustment, or sexual or emotional intimacies, but it did have a significant relationship to three of the RDAS’s subscales; decision-making, stability and values. Furthermore, religious attendance, personal religious activities, and importance of religion had significant relationships with spiritual intimacy, but were not related to emotional and sexual intimacies. Finally, when the sample was divided by frequency of self-reported religious activities, emotional and sexual intimacy were significantly correlated with spiritual intimacy for those endorsing high levels of religious attendance, personal religious activities, or importance of religion, but these correlations were not found for those endorsing low or moderate levels of religious attendance, personal religious activities or importance of religion. The study was limited by convenience sampling, unequal sample sizes, and potentially inconsistent due to the use of self-report measures. Future research may benefit from matching spouses, a more generalizable population, and examining quality of personal religious activities and attendance as opposed to quantity.
Presler, Bryan L., "Religiosity, Marital Adjustment, and Intimacy" (2014). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 159.