Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


The relationship between religiosity and marital satisfaction was studied in a sample of 78 couples (156 people) who volunteered from three separate settings: sixteen couples were teachers at a public high school, sixteen attended a United Methodist Church and forty-five attended an independent church. Each person completed a demographic questionnaire and three self report inventories: the Religious Orientation Scale (ROS), the Spiritual Well-being Scale (SWB), and the Marital Satisfaction Inventory (MSI). Data analysis was primarily correlational, but two-tailed l-tests and ~-tests, Scheffe' test, and multiple regression analysis were also utilized. The sample was highly religious; 96% professed to be Christian and 86% reported church attendance of at least once a week. Even within this highly religious sample, religiosity as measured by the Spiritual Well-Being scale and the Existential Well-Being scale were positively correlated with marital satisfaction. Both husbands and wives showed greater marital satisfaction than the MSI norm sample (Snyder,1981). Partners who agreed on religious beliefs and activities showed higher marital satisfaction scores. Religiosity ranked eighth out of the ten variables which predicted marital satisfaction. The communication triad of affective communication, time together, and problem-solving communication were the top three variables related to marital satisfaction. Following the communication triad was child-rearing attitudes and practices, the sexual relationship and the financial relationship in their predictiveness of marital satisfaction. Religiosity, role orientation and family history were the last three variables found relating to marital satisfaction. The implications of this study are directly related to the church and its leaders. For church couples who attend church regularly, and who are committed to God (profess to be born again, high Intrinsic and Religious Well-Being score), and who are experiencing purpose and satisfaction in life (high Existential Well-Being and Spiritual Well-Being score) religiosity is not strongly associated with marital satisfaction. Therefore, church leaders have a dual role in the enhancement of the marital relationship. They must lead and motivate their members in areas of commitment and devotion to God (measures of religiosity), and they must discern and teach specific relational skills (Marital Satisfaction Inventory subscales) which will facilitate a maturing, caring relationship.

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