The Role of Enduring Vulnerabilities and Coping in Adjusting to Marital Stress
AuthorHanzal, Alesia Diane
Committee ChairSegrin, Chris
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis investigation examines some of the potential underlying processes and factors associated with marital stability. Two studies were guided by Karney and Bradbury's vulnerability-stress-adaptation (VSA) model of marital development. Variables examined included negative affectivity, educational attainment, work and family stressors, conflict resolution styles, mutual problem solving, marital satisfaction, personal commitment, and divorce proneness. Study one used an existing data set consisting of 194 married couples and tested a part of the VSA model. Results indicate that high negative affectivity is associated with the endorsement of negatively toned conflict styles. In comparison to husbands, wives' negative affectivity and use of negatively toned conflict styles were found to be more detrimental to marital quality in general. Conflict resolution styles were able to explain the relationship between negative affectivity and marital quality for husbands more so than wives. Study two examined 186 newly married couples and tested additional paths of the VSA. The enduring vulnerability, negative affectivity, played a significant role in wives' and husbands' perceived stress and lower marital quality. Marital quality was significantly associated with how spouses personally communicated with their spouses about problems and concerns. Additionally, mutual problem solving was related to increased levels of stress for wives and husbands. There were partner effects for husbands' mutual problem solving on wives' perceived stress, but not vice versa. Last, mutual problem solving significantly mediated some of the relationships between enduring vulnerabilities, stressful events, and marital quality. Both studies highlight the impact communication processes have on a dyadic level in marital relationships. These findings will allow scholars, clinicians, and married individuals to further understand some of the factors and processes that contribute to dyadic adjustment and stable marriages.