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PAIR Project Abstracts and Annotated Bibliography


Table Of Contents


Introduction
Background
Original Project
Follow-up Project
Theoretical, Conceptual, and Methodological Papers
Previous Ted Huston Work on Courtship
PAIR Writings on Courtship
Psychological Factors in Courtship and Marriage
From Courtship to Marriage
PAIR Writings on Marriage
Behavioral Patterns and Marital Satisfaction
Transition to Parenthood
Personality in Marriage
Roles: Marriage, Work, and Parenting
Types of Marriage
Commitment
Long-term Marital Quality and Stability
Theses and Dissertations Based on the PAIR Project


Introduction to the Abstracts


The papers based on the project are anchored in the only large-scale social psychological study of courtship and early marriage that has ever been done. The size of the original sample, combined with the extensive data concerning the spouses' individual qualities, their compatibility, and their life together as newlyweds, affords a unique opportunity to explore the premarital and early marital antecedents of marital dissatisfaction and divorce. More than thirteen years after they were wed, we were able to determine the current marital status of 164 of the 168 couples; thus, our study suffers very little from the attrition that often plagues long-term longitudinal work.

The project follows couples’ relationships from courtship, to early marriage, to parenthood (for most), and to divorce (for some). Emphasis is placed on how the qualities that people bring to their relationship bear upon the path that relationships take. The roster of qualities includes personality, the ideas the partners hold about the roles appropriate for men and women, their religiosity, and their leisure interests. What happens in courtship both reflects personal characteristics and signals how the future relationship will unfold. There has been a certain "mystery" element in carrying out the project because we have learned incrementally how certain aspects of the relationship foreshadow its dissolution at different years into the marriage. New clues emerge at various points of the relationship that we find are precursors of trouble ahead.

We have obtained detailed information from newlyweds about how quickly they fell in love, how rapidly their commitment to marriage accelerated, how often that commitment wavered, the amount of courtship conflict, timing of first sexual intercourse, and how ambivalent they felt about each other and the relationship once they were heavily involved. This material has allowed us to create profiles of different forms of courtship and to relate these to how the marriage fared. We report, for example, that the course of premarital commitment is driven more by the husbands’ feelings about the wife than vice versa. We also show that the amount of uncertainty wives felt about their future husbands foretells marital satisfaction or disaffection.

More than twelve years after the couples were wed they divided almost equally between those who achieved a mutually satisfying marriage (40%) and those who divorced (35%). The remainder included at least one spouse in the pair who was not happy with the marriage(25%). Early in their marriage we tracked the couples annually, examining matters such as how much in love they were with each other, how much work each did around the house, how they used their free time, and how they acted toward each other when they were together. We demonstrate, for instance, that the way tasks are shared and how much time spouses spend together in and of themselves are of far less import in accounting for marital satisfaction and the durability of marriages than the amount of affection and hostility the partners express toward each other in their day-to-day life together.

We demonstrate that happy stable marriages, compared to those involving couples who had stayed together even though at least one partner was not happy, were different from the outset. Couples who divorced, however, were frequently as affectionate and in love as newlyweds as were those who stayed married. The key to predicting divorce was not how the partners felt about each other, or how they related to each other as newlyweds, but how much their love and affection declined over the first two years of marriage. Distress and alienation intensify quickly for those who divorce soon after marriage. Positive feelings and affection also decline notably among couples who divorce after several years, but as newlyweds these couples’ relationships appear more promising than those of couples who later achieve a mutually satisfying union.


Background


Abstract of the Original Project:

Premarital Origins of Marital Cohesiveness and Stability. Proposal funded by NIMH, beginning in 1979-1982.

The project was originally designed to examine the connection between the processes through which premarital partners join together as mates and the subsequent cohesion and stability of their marriage. At the time the project was begun, it was one of the few longitudinal studies focused on the transition of relationships from courtship into marriage carried out since the pioneering work of Burgess and Wallin (1953). A sample of 168 newly-married couples was recruited to take part in a three-phase study that took place over a two year period. The first phase required them to participate in a structured interview designed to yield a time-ordered description of the premarital period of their courtship. During the initial interview, and on two subsequent occasions, the spouses were administered a series of questionnaires designed to ascertain how they felt about each other and their marriage relationship. Spouses also provided data via a series of 9 brief telephone interviews about their participation in household tasks, their leisure activities, their conversations (with each other and with members of their social network), and the extent to which they behaved both affectionately and negatively toward each other. These data were used to profile marriage relationships in terms of marital roles, marital companionship, the affective tone of the marriage relationship, and spouses' involvement with friends and kin. These data were to be used to examine the connection between features of couples' courtships and the way the couples' structure their marriage, as well as the degree to which their marriages are stable, satisfying, and create a general sense of well-being.

The project was originally designed to pursue a variety of theoretical ideas, including those derived from social learning theory, exchange theory, attribution theory, and theories having to do with roles, compatibility, and interdependence. The database created from the original project has several useful features: (1) Data were obtained from both members of the marital pair. (2) Data were gathered three times (when couples were newlyweds, and after they had been married 14 months and 27 months). (3) Careful attention was given to clearly distinguishing at the level of measurement (a) relatively stable attributes of the partners (e.g., their sex-role attitudes, background, personality characteristics), (b) emergent properties of their interpersonal relationship (e.g., marital role patterns), and ) the spouses' evaluative judgments about their marriage (e.g., marital satisfaction). (4) Behavioral data were gathered at the "activity" level, thus making it possible to differentiate a variety of constructs that are often lumped together (see Huston, Robins, Atkinson, & McHale,1987). For example, it is possible to separate "division of labor" (a comparative measure) from the extent to which the husband and wife were each involved in household work, or the amount of marital companionship (time together) and the centrality each spouse has in the other's leisure (i.e., the proportion of total leisure time spent with the spouse).


Follow-up Project

A longitudinal study of the Antecedents of Marital Distress and Divorce. Proposal Funded by NSF, beginning in 1993-1996.

The follow-up of the original study, carried out in the Fall of 1994, sought to determine connection between the social and psychological characteristics partners bring to marriage, the early years of their marriage, and the cohesion and stability of their union over thirteen years. The research extended a large-scale social psychological study on courtship and the early years of marriage into a long-term, prospective study of the antecedents of dissatisfaction and divorce. Data gathered between 1981 and 1983 concerning168 newlyweds' recollections of their courtship experiences, their compatibility, and the early years of their marriage were supplemented with new data on economic hardship and parenting stress to predict more than thirteen years after they were wed: (a) the stability of their marriage (married vs. divorced); (b) their level of marital satisfaction (for those still married); ) the length of time (in months) their marriage lasted; and (d) the extent to which couples have become more or less compatible with time. The large size of the original sample, combined with the extensive data from the earlier study, provide an unusually rich database from which to explore the antecedents of alienation and divorce.

 


Theoretical, Conceptual and Methodological Papers


Conceptual and methodological issues in studying close relationships (with E. Robins). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1982, 44, 901-925.

Discusses issues pertaining to describing and making causal inferences about close relationships. The features that define relationships are considered, and attention is drawn to the concept of "interdependence." Two levels of interdependence (interpersonal and psychological) are differentiated, and issues having to do with gathering data regarding each level are identified. The steps necessary to go from conceptualizing the phenomena of interest to the measurement of those phenomena are presented, and sources of unreliability and threats to construct validity are discussed. Advantages and disadvantages of measurement strategies are indicated to provide a framework for evaluating the relative merits of various approaches to collecting data about particular relational phenomena. Problems pertaining to conducting research on the causes of relationship features are also examined.

Surveying the landscape of marital behavior: A behavioral self-report approach to studying marriage (with E. Robins, J. Atkinson, & S. McHale). In S. Oskamp (Ed.), Family Processes and Problems: Social Psychological Aspects (pp. 46-71). Beverly Hills: Sage, 1987.

This chapter provides the most complete overview of the telephone interview technique developed for the PAIR Project to gather data concerning the behavioral organization of marriage relationships. The primary "behavioral fields" of marriage are delineated and the rationale behind developing the phone interview method (rather than using more traditional data collection methods) is set forth. The chapter illustrates the usefulness of the phone data collection technique by summarizing the results of several research papers based on the analysis of phone data. The behavioral changes in marriage that typically take place over the first year are summarized, factors that affect newlyweds' division of household labor are identified, and the psychological attributes of spouses who become parents are examined in connection with parental role patterns.

Women and men in personal relationships (with R. D. Ashmore). In R. D. Ashmore & F. K. Del Boca (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Female-Male Relationships: A Critical Analysis of Central Concepts (167-210). New York: Academic Press, 1986.

This chapter summarizes research pertaining to sex differences in the ways men and women behave in, and experience, close relationships. Research summarizing gender differences in behavior exhibited in personal relationships is summarized, and a contextual framework for examining the causes of such gender differences is introduced. The framework draws attention to the importance of moving away from causal analyses that assume that gender differences in styles of interpersonal behavior are highly intercorrelated (see Huston and Geis, 1993), or that gender differences in behavior can be taken to reflect the underlying gender-based psychological or biological dispositions.

Interpersonal attitudes, dispositions, and behavior in family and other close relationships (with J. K. Rempel). Journal of Family Psychology,1989, 3, 177-198.

Two almost separate literatures have developed about family and other close relationships. One focuses on interpersonal attitudes such as love, commitment, and trust; the other centers on the analysis of behavioral exchanges and activity patterns. This paper presents a framework for (a) analyzing the processes through which interpersonal attitudes and dispositions develop, and (b) for examining how such dispositions, once in place, serve as rudders that regulate participants' behavior toward each other. The framework is used to compare theories in regard to the behavioral patterns they focus on and the psychological processes they see as necessary to understand development of attitudes and dispositions. The article also considers issues pertaining to studying the ways in which, and the conditions under which, interpersonal attitudes and dispositions are played out in relationships.

The social psychology of marriage (with G. Levinger). In F. Fincham & T. Bradbury (Eds.), The Psychology of Marriage: Conceptual, Empirical, and Applied Perspectives (19-57). New York: Guilford Press, 1990.

This chapter sets forth a broadly conceived social psychological framework for examining the marital dyad. Beginning with Kurt Lewin's conception of the forces that affect people's life space and their activity fields, a conception of how the psychological world (life space) of the spouses affects their behavior is developed. The structure of the relationship -- that is, the relatively stable behavioral patterns that emerge with time -- is said to result from the spouses' experience in acting and reacting to each other's actions and communications. Either directly or indirectly, each partner's life-space is continuously affected by the other's behavior. The analysis of marriage moves from the molar activity patterns that provide the broad outlines of the relationship to the relatively molecular events that take place during interaction. Patterns at both behavioral levels provide significant clues to the meanings the partners attach to their marriage. Such patterns reflect the psychological identities of the spouses, the social and environmental context within which they live, and their feelings about each other. These observations suggest, more generally, that partners' goals are mapped on to their actions and reactions, and that the feelings they have about the partner and the relationship reflect the extent to which the behavioral patterns conform to spouses' goals as well as the extent to which the spouses' goals mesh with one another.

The social ecology of marriage and other intimate relationships. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 2000, 62, 298-320.

This article provides and interdisciplinary framework for studying marital and other intimate relationships. Three levels of analysis are distinguished: (a) the society, characterized in terms of both macrosocietal forces and the ecological niches within which particular spouses and couples function; (b) the individual spouses, including their psychosocial and physical attributes, as well as attitudes and beliefs they have about each other and their relationship; and (c) the marriage relationship, viewed as a behavioral system embedded within a larger network of close relationships. The discussion focuses primarily on the interplay between the spouses and their marriage, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing, both analytically and operationally, the individual from the dyadic (or group) levels of analysis. It is also argued that in order to appreciate how marriages work, social scientists must understand not only how these 2 levels of analysis interpenetrate each other but also how macrosocietal forces and the ecological niches within which couples live impinge on partners and their marital relationship.

 


Previous and Related Work by the Principal Investigator Having to do with Courtship


From courtship to marriage: Mate selection as an interpersonal process (with C. Surra, N. M. Fitzgerald, & R. Cate). In S. Duck & R. Gilmour (Eds.), Personal Relationships, Vol. 2. (pp. 53-88). London: Academic Press,1981.

This manuscript describes two major lines of work concerning courtship: (a) writings centered on "compatibility" as a basis of mate selection, and (b) scholarship that focuses on courtship as a process of commitment. The writings of scholars working within each of these two traditions I is summarized to show that mate selection processes are poorly understood. A graphing procedure, designed to gather data concerning courtship processes, is introduced and the results of two studies using the procedure are described. The results identify several types of courtships and differentiates the types in terms of the history of the relationship, interpersonal dynamics, and the connections the partners have with third parties.

Premarital relationships: Toward the identification of alternative pathways to marriage (with R. M. Cate & J. R. Nesselroade). Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 1986, 4, 3-22.

This article presents a more comprehensive description of the graphing procedure than the chapter published in the Duck and Gilmour book, Personal Relationships. Fifty newly-married couples participated in highly structured interviews, with husbands and wives being interviewed separately. Each participant constructed, in collaboration with the interviewer, a graph showing the changes in the chance of marriage from the time the relationship began until the wedding day. After finishing the graph, participants divided their courtship into three periods: (1) casual dating, (2) serious dating, and (3)committed to marriage (engaged). They then filled out a questionnaire assessing feelings of love and ambivalence, as well as reports of conflict and the frequency with which activities designed to enhance or maintain the marriage occurred for each of the three premarital periods. The graphic data were structured into a set of reference components (curves) of commitment, which were then correlated with specific features of the graphs (e.g., number of downturns), reports of psychological and interpersonal processes, and individual dispositions. A good fit with the graphic data was provided by three reference components. The correlations found between the reference curves and the interpersonal and psychological processes, as well as the information about the predispositions of the partners toward marriage, indicate some of the causal factors that are tied to them.

Premarital relationship correlates of the erosion of satisfaction in marriage (with C. Kelly & R. M. Cate). Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 1985, 2, 167-178.

This study is based on a follow-up of 21 of the couples who participated in the study that was published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. The results showed that premarital conflict is a precursor of marital conflict and that, while premarital conflict does not relate to the feelings that partners report having about one another premaritally, it does predict the extent to which they are satisfied once they have been married for about two and a half years. Premarital conflict and "maintenance" (self-disclosure, problem solving) were strongly associated before marriage but once couples had been married for a while couples who report having high conflict no longer make greater efforts at problem solving. The results were discussed in terms of couples' changing attributions regarding the origins of conflict.

Mate selection as a social transition (with C. Surra). In D. Perlman & S. Duck (Eds.), Intimate Relationships: Development, Dynamics, and Deterioration (pp. 88-120). Beverly Hills: Sage, 1987.

This chapter places the transition from courtship to marriage within the context of other life transitions, and presents a conceptual scheme for viewing mate selection as a "social transition." Changes in "commitment" organize the evolution of relationships from first acquaintance into marriage. Studies examining "objective" factors affecting commitment are contrasted with research that examines partners' subjective inferences about how and why events affect commitment. A case study, taken from the PAIR Project, is used to illustrate how commitment during courtship evolves. The chapter also includes a description of a coding scheme concerning the activities and events that reportedly affect partners' commitment during courtship.

 


PAIR Project Writings on Courtship


Psychological Factors in Courtship and Marriage

Compatibility and the development of premarital relationships (with R. Houts and E. Robins). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1996, 58, 7-20.

This article identified the links between social homogamy, similarity in leisure interests and role performance preferences, and the dynamics of premarital relationships. The more similar individuals' role performance preferences and leisure interests were to those of the other sex in the sample, the more compatible they were with the person they married. Nonetheless, even after controlling for how likely individuals were to find a compatible mate in the population of other-sex persons, people tended to be better matched than they would have been had they been randomly paired (i.e., assortative mating appears to be taking place on the basis of leisure interests and role preferences). Assortative mating also was found with regard to social characteristics (age, education, religion), but such social similarity was related neither to similarity in couples' leisure interests nor to their role preferences, and, with one exception, social similarity was not significantly related to their courtship experiences and evaluations. Similarity in leisure interests and compatible role preferences, however, were related both to partners' subjective evaluations of their courtships (i.e., love, ambivalence) and to how they reportedly interacted with each other (i.e., conflict, efforts to enhance the quality of the relationship). In the conclusion, the findings are placed within the context of previous writings on compatibility and mate selection and argue for the importance of establishing empirical linkages between various combinations of the partners' social and psychological attributes and their courtship experiences.

The psychological infrastructure of courtship and marriage: The role of personality and compatibility in romantic relationships (with R. Houts). In T. Bradbury (Ed.), The developmental course of marital dysfunction. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

This chapter examines the extent to which relationships are structured in particular ways by the partners' personality characteristics and their compatibility. Three models pertaining to the psychological and interpersonal roots of the development and deterioration of intimate relationships are identified and described: (1) the disillusionment model portrays lovers as driven to put their best foot forward and as somewhat oblivious each other's-- and the relationships'--shortcomings until after the wedding knot is tied. (2) the perpetual problems model, in contrast, suggests that the interplay between the partners' dispositions gets played out during courtship and that, as consequence, the partners develop feelings and views about each other that reflect the underlying, relatively psychological infrastructure of the relationship. The accommodation model posits that when problematic dispositions or incompatible desires surface in a relationship they initially create disappointments and antagonisms; over time, however, partners who remain together maintain a satisfactory bond by adapting their expectations or otherwise coming to terms with the situation.

Personality (negative affectivity and expressiveness) and compatibility (in leisure interests and role preferences) were found to affect both the dynamics of courtship and the feelings and views spouses have toward each other over the first two years of marriage. The perpetual problems model-- with its suggestion that problems surface in relationships relatively early, continue to persist, and have similarly strong connections with how partners feel and think about each other from courtship on into early in marriage--was strongly supported. Conflict, love, and ambivalence were intercorrelated when reports about courtship were examined, although not as strongly as they were after marriage. Even as newlyweds, the bride and groom had images of each other's personality that reflected their courtship experiences and that remained relatively stable over the first two years of their marriage. The images the spouses developed of each other also reflected the personality qualities that both spouses brought to the relationship, their compatibility, and their life together as a couple. Nonetheless, consistent with the disillusionment model, relationships do change over the first two years of marriage, both behaviorally and with regard to their affective tone. Love, satisfaction, and maintenance, in particular, showed significant declines. Conflict increases over the first year of marriage and then leveled off. Perhaps the strongest support for the disillusionment model, however, came from the increasingly strong inverse correlations between love and both negativity and conflict. Accommodation, to the extent that it occurs, may reflect an adaptation that takes place only after spouses discover, through extensive experience, that their mate is inflexible or unwilling to change.

From Courtship to Marriage

Courtship antecedents of Marital Satisfaction and Love. In R. Erber & R. Gilmour (Eds.), Theoretical Perspectives on Personal Relationships (pp. 43-65). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1994.

This chapter begins by suggesting the importance of studying relationships across time, noting in particular the limited information available concerning the connection between courtship patterns and marital love and satisfaction. Most research on courtship and marriage focuses on whether particular events (e.g., premarital pregnancy) take place rather their significance in terms of premarital commitment. Such premarital events are sometimes associated with rapid escalations in commitment; sometimes they are related to conflict and downturns in commitment; and at other times, they appear to have little connection with the course of a couple's courtship. Mate selection is viewed in the chapter as a commitment process, characterized by the partners' developing a consensus that marriage is mutually desired. A procedure is introduced to describe variations in the temporal course of commitment to marriage, and data are summarized showing that the course of courtship is influenced more by men's than by women's desires and concerns about the direction of the relationship. The quickness with which couples fall in love, and the extent to which they are romantically in love during courtship, do not foretell how they feel about each other after they have been married two years. The length of time the partners date, how slowly they become committed, how much conflict they experience during courtship, and how ambivalent they are premaritally, however, foreshadow their later level of marital satisfaction and love.

 

 


PAIR Project Writings on Marriage


Behavioral Patterns and Marital Satisfaction

When the honeymoon's over: Changes in the marriage relationship over the first year (with S. McHale & A. Crouter) in R. Gilmour & S. Duck (Eds.), The Emerging Field of Personal Relationships (pp. 109-132). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1986.

This chapter describes changes that take place in marriage over the first year. The results show significant declines in love and marital satisfaction. Marriages are relatively stable with regard to the traditionalism of spousal roles, but notable changes occur in the extent to which spouses are affectionate. The chapter also summarizes data showing that patterns of affectional expression and negativity are strongly correlated with spouses love for one another and satisfaction with their relationship, both when couples are newlyweds and after they have been married more than one year.

Socioemotional behavior and satisfaction in marital relationships: A longitudinal study (with A. Vangelisti). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1991, 41, 721-733.

The notion that marital satisfaction is related to the quality of relational outcomes "received" by each spouse has a long history in the study of relationships. Although a number of correlational studies support this proposition, such studies cannot establish whether patterns of positive and negative socioemotional behavior precede the development of dissatisfaction, whether they reflect the presence of dissatisfaction, or both. The purpose of this study was to empirically test, using a longitudinal design, a number of hypotheses that have to date been examined using only correlational data. Data gathered from newly-married couples over a three year time period were used to examine the associations between changes in spousal affective behaviors and changes in marital satisfaction over time. Cross-sectional analyses revealed that for both husbands and wives, the expression and receipt of negativity is consistently associated with marital satisfaction. Receiving affection is positively related to satisfaction for both partners, however, giving affection is more consistently associated with husbands' satisfaction. The longitudinal analyses focused on predicting changes in marital satisfaction from earlier patterns of socioemotional behavior, and vice versa. The results revealed a distinct, and therefore interesting, gender-differentiated pattern of results. Husbands' negativity early in marriage predicts wives' later satisfaction. In contrast, wives' initial negativity and expressed sexual interest predict changes in their own later satisfaction. Finally, both husbands' and wives' satisfaction early in marriage creates an atmosphere that appears to encourage spousal behaviors that reinforce their initial level of satisfaction. When husbands are initially satisfied, their wives maintain relatively high levels of affectional expression; when wives are dissatisfied early in marriage, their husbands come to behave more negatively. These longitudinal findings suggest that the interplay between spouses' attitudes and their marital behavior is more complicated than earlier analyses have suggested.

Behavioral buffers on the effects of negativity on marital satisfaction: a longitudinal study. (with A. F. Chorost). Journal of Personal Relationships, 1994, 1, 223-238.

This study builds on the Huston and Vangelisti (1991) study by exploring the extent to which the connection between negativity and satisfaction is muted when spouses (a) create an atmosphere of friendliness (as indexed by the degree to which they are affectionally expressive) and (b) try to accommodate to each other's needs (as indexed by Braiker and Kelley's "maintenance" scale). Data concerning marital behavior (negativity, affectional expressiveness, and maintenance) and marital satisfaction were gathered from105 pairs of spouses on three occasions, spaced approximately one year apart. Hierarchical regressions with the cross-sectional data revealed that affectional expression and maintenance appear to buffer the impact of husbands' negativity on wives' satisfaction. Cross-lag hierarchical regressions were used to examine whether declines in husbands' and wives' satisfaction could be predicted by spouses' initial level of negativity, either considered alone or in combination with their level of affectional expression or maintenance. Results showed that husbands' initial negativity was associated with declines in wives' satisfaction; consistent with the buffering hypothesis, the decline in satisfaction associated with negativity was less great when husbands exhibited a relatively high level of affectional expression. Declines in husbands' level of satisfaction, in contrast, could not be predicted by wives' initial levels of negativity, considered alone, or in combination with their level of affectional expression or maintenance behavior.

Maintaining marital satisfaction and love (with A. Vangelisti). In D. Canary & L. Stafford, (Eds.), Communication and Relational Maintenance (pp. 165-186). New York: Academic Press, 1994.

This chapter identifies eight different domains of life that may influence spouses' satisfaction and love. These domains include not only satisfaction with the quality of communication -- the focus of much of the research on maintaining marital relationships --but also other aspects of how couples organize their lives together, including such matters as how they divide household work, the quality of their sexual relationship, and the extent of their involvement with friends and kin. Satisfaction with the quality of communication with the most consistent concurrent correlate of overall marital satisfaction. Changes in love and satisfaction over the first two years of marriage were associated with different domains of marriage for husbands and for wives. Wives' satisfaction with the quality of communication in the marriage and the extent of their influence were associated with the extent to which they stayed in love with their husbands; however, seemingly paradoxically, wives' satisfaction with influence early in marriage was associated with a decline in their marital satisfaction. Wives may feel closer to husbands when they, themselves, feel comfortable with their influence indecision-making, but be stay more happy in marriage if their husbands take charge of decisions. Husbands' satisfaction with division of labor was the only feature of marriage that predicted the stability of their love for their wives.

Compatibility and the development of premarital relationships (with R. Houts & E. Robins) Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1996, 58, 7-20.

This study contributes to the literature on compatibility in courtship by seeking to identify empirical links between social homogamy, similarity in leisure interests and role performance preferences, and the dynamics of premarital relationships. Data were collected from 168 working-class and middle-class couples married for the first time in central Pennsylvania during the early 1980s. The more similar individuals’ role performance preferences and leisure interests were to those of the other sex in the sample, the more compatibility they were with the person they married. Nonetheless, even after controlling for how likely individuals were to find a compatible mater in the population of other-sex persons, people tended to be better matched than they would have been had they been randomly paired (i.e., assortative mating appears to be taking place on the basis of leisure interests and role performance preferences). Assortative mating also was found with regard to social characteristics (age, education, religion), but such social similarity was related neither to similarity in couples’ leisure interests nor to their role preferences, and, with one exception, social similarity was not significantly related to their courtship experiences and evaluations. Similarity in leisure interests and compatible role preferences, however, were related both to partners’ subjective evaluations of their courtships (i.e., love, ambivalence) and to how they reportedly interacted with each other (i.e., conflict, efforts to enhance the quality of the relationship). In the conclusion, we place our findings within the context of previous writings on compatibility and mate selection and argue for the importance of establishing empirical linkages between various combinations of the partners’ social and psychological attributes and their courtship experiences.

A contextual analysis of the association between demand/ withdraw and marital satisfaction (with J. Caughlin) Personal Relationships, 2002, 9, 95-119.

 In spite of research connecting the demand/withdraw pattern of marital interaction to marital dissatisfaction, questions remain about its association with marital satisfaction when it is considered in the context of other interpersonal behaviors. We explore the possibility that the correlation between demand/withdraw and satisfaction is less strong when spouses have a highly affectionate marriage. Based on the current investigation, the demand/withdraw pattern of communication appears to be empirically distinguishable from the extent to which partners express negativity in their everyday lives, and it seems to account for variation in marital satisfaction over and above partners’ affectionate behaviors and negativity. Moreover, the inverse association between demand/withdraw and marital satisfaction may be less strong when one partner frequently expresses affection in daily life. Together, these results imply potential advantages to further exploring the interdependence among behaviors within marital interaction systems.

Compatibility, leisure, and satisfaction in marital relationships (with D. Crawford, R. Houts, & L. George) Journal of Marriage and the Family, 2002, 64, 433-449.

This study challenges the prevailing view that marital companionship promotes marital satisfaction. By following a cohort of married couples for over a decade and by incorporating several methodological improvements-such as refining the measurement of marital satisfaction, determining how much spouses enjoy doing the leisure activities they pursue together and apart, and using diary data to portray marital leisure patterns-we found that the association between companionship and satisfaction is less robust than previously believed, and that it depends on how often spouses pursue activities that reflect their own and their partner’s leisure preferences. Over time, involvement in leisure liked by husbands but disliked by wives, whether as a couple or by husbands alone, is both a cause and a consequence of wives’ dissatisfaction.

Changes in Marriage Associated with the Transition to Parenthood

The effect of the transition to parenthood on the marital relationship: A longitudinal study (with S. McHale). Journal of Family Issues, 1985, 5, 409-433.

A longitudinal study of newlyweds explored the impact of parenthood on marriages. Couples who became parents during the first year of marriage were compared with couples who remained childless during the year. Data were collected about two months after the couples' weddings and again about a year later. Data concerning the behavioral properties of marriage (e.g., amount of companionship, sex roles) were gathered by phone interviews; data pertaining to the partners' satisfaction were obtained during face-to-face interviews. The results confirmed earlier research in showing that the transition to parenthood affects companionship and marital role patterns, but no evidence was found to support the idea that parenthood is associated with a decline in the partners' love for one another or their marital satisfaction. Both the parent and childless groups showed significant declines in love and satisfaction. Moreover, the properties of the marriages and the evaluations by the partners of one another were equally stable during the year for the two groups. The data show that many of the changes attributed to parenthood also occur among childless couples and thus indicate the importance of using comparison groups of childless couples in research on the transition to parenthood.

Changes in marriage associated with the transition to parenthood: Individual differences as a function of sex role attitudes and changes in the division of household labor (with S. MacDermid and S. M. McHale). Journal of Marriage and the Family 1990, 52, 475-486.

This article extends the earlier transition to parenthood paper, published in the Journal of Family Issues, from the first year of marriage into the second year and includes a second group of parents who made the transition to parenthood between their first and second wedding anniversaries. All groups of husbands and wives, regardless of whether and when they became parents, experienced declines in their feelings of love and marital satisfaction over the first 2.5 years of marriage. Declines were also found, independent of parenthood status, in the frequency with which spouses engaged in activities together and in the level of affection. Parents' became more instrumental and child-oriented with time, and their division of tasks became more traditional. Parents (but not childless couples) with more traditional sex role attitudes and whose pattern of division of labor changed to a less traditional pattern reported less love and more conflict.

The impact of the transition to parenthood on marital leisure (with D. Crawford). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1993, 18,39-46.

This article reports data pertaining to whether the transition to parenthood affects the amount of time spouses pursue leisure activities -- both together and apart and the degree to which they pursue the kinds of leisure activities they both enjoy doing. As newlyweds, husbands and wives used Likert-type scales to rate the extent to which they liked and disliked 50 leisure activities. Two sets of nine telephone interviews were subsequently conducted, spaced about a year apart, to determine the amount of time the spouses engaged in each of the same 50 leisure activities. Two sets of nine telephone interviews were subsequently conducted, spaced about a year apart, to determine the amount of time the spouses engaged in each of the same 50 leisure activities, both together and independently. One-third of the 69 couples in the study became parents between the sets of telephone interviews. Results indicated that: (a) new parents and childless couples do not differ in the amount of time they spend doing leisure activities they both like -- both groups spend less time doing mutually liked leisure activities with time; (b) parenthood reduces the amount of time spouses engages in leisure activities independently;) parenthood increases the amount of time couples pursue activities together that are liked by the wife but not the husband; and (d) parenthood reduces the amount of time wives pursue leisure activities they dislike but that husband likes. The results show that parenthood restricts spouses' independent leisure pursuits, reduces the time spouses spend in mutually enjoyable leisure activities while, at the same time, increases the relative extent to which their leisure activities reflect the preferences of wives rather than husbands.

How parenthood affects marriage (with A. Vangelisti) (1995). In M. A. Fitzpatrick & A. Vangelisti (Eds.), Perspectives on family communication (pp. 147-176). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

This chapter summarizes all of the PAIR Project research pertaining to the changes in marriage that take place as a consequence of the transition to parenthood. The chapter draws attention to the importance of differentiating changes in marital behavior patterns from changes in subjective evaluations of the marriage, and shows how the research design and approach to measurement used in the PAIR Project makes it possible to pinpoint more clearly than heretofore possible the kinds of changes in marriage that take place when couples become parents. The chapter draws attention to the need for researchers to develop theories about the transition to parenthood that take into account contextual factors and the length of time and the ways in which parenthood ought to affect marriage.

Data from the PAIR Project challenges the view that having a baby causes a decline in marital satisfaction. A comparison of couples who did become parents early in marriage with those who did not shows that marital satisfaction in both groups declined to the same extent over the first couple of years of marriage. Parenthood brings about a big change in the lives of new parents, but, on balance, these changes are as likely to be welcomed as not. Like others, we document that parenthood does traditionalize marital roles and alters the way couples spend their "free time." Contrary to conventional social science wisdom, couples who become parents do not become less affectionate with or more antagonistic toward one another. By following a comparison group of non-parents and by carefully distinguishing between changes in marital behavior patterns and their evaluations of each other, we show that the idea that parenthood undermines marital satisfaction is overdrawn, if not entirely inaccurate as a generalization. The chapter also shows that when becoming a parent allows spouses an opportunity to play out their ideas about themselves as men and women they are more satisfied in marriage.

Path to parenthood. UT Discovery Magazine, 1997.

This article provides an accessible discussion of the research we have carried out on the impact of parenthood on marriage.  Findings described in this article are summarized in the abstract entitled "How parenthood affects marriage."  (See above.)

The perils of love, or Why wives adapt to husbands during the transition to parenthood (with E. Johnson & T. Huston) Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1998, 60, 195-204.

Within a theoretical framework of interdependence and the feminization of love, we present evidence that wives’ love for their husbands motivates them to align their preferences about the division of child-care tasks with their husbands’ preferences during the transition to parenthood. The preferences of 69 couples were measured 2 months after they were wed and 2 years later, after birth of their first child. Results of hierarchical linear regressions indicate that husbands’ newlywed preferences predict changes in wives’ preferences and that the influence of husbands’ preferences depends on the level of wives’ love.

On becoming parents (with E. Holmes). In A. Vangelisti (Ed.), Handbook of Family Communication (in press).

This chapter discusses the process of becoming a parent as it relates to changes in family relationships and family work. Early in the chapter we present a framework for viewing the transition to parenthood as a process and identify research design and other methodological considerations that underlie research in this area, focusing in particular on models that have been developed to account for the impact becoming a parent has on marital well-being. The bulk of the chapter centers on summarizing findings regarding how marriages change with parenthood, examining differences among couples in how their lifestyle becomes redefined by virtue of parenthood, linking the ways wives and husband initially assume their roles as care givers, and probing how they come to feel about each other and the marriage. In this chapter, we rely heavily on findings from our own longitudinal research study of couples making the transition to parenthood.

Personality in Marriage

The psychological infrastructure of courtship and marriage: The role of personality and compatibility in romantic relationships (with R. Houts). In T. Bradbury (Ed.), The development course of marital dysfunction, (pp. 114-151). New York: Cambridge University Press. (1998).

This chapter examines the extent to which relationships are structured in particular ways by the partners’ personality characteristics and their compatibility. The chapter introduces three models to frame the way social scientists have accounted for the development and deterioration of relationships. The first model – what we call the "perpetual problems" model – suggests that the interplay between the partners’ dispositions gets played out during courtship and that, as a consequence, the partners feelings and views about each other that reflect the underlying, relatively stable psychological infrastructure of the relationship. This model is contrasted with a second model–the "disillusionment model"– that proposes that during courtship potentially troublesome aspects of personality are put out of view and that couples are inclined to seek out common ground, rather than to test their compatibility. The idea that courting partners on their way to the altar feel a sense of euphoria and suppress behavior and thoughts that might puncture their romance suggests that personality and compatibility issues will not have much of an impact on relationships during courtship. The third model – an "accommodation model" suggests that problems surface early, but that with time, couples usually resolve their differences or come to terms with them.

We summarize results showing that, consistent with the perpetual problems model, personality and compatibility come into play during courtship. Thus, newlyweds enter marriage with their eyes at least partly open to each other’s good and bad qualities as well as their degree of compatibility as a couple. Moreover, we show that the qualities that influence the dynamics of courtship carry into the marriage. At the same time, consistent with the disillusionment model, our data also support the adage that lovers are more loving and less antagonistic during courtship and as newlyweds than they are after they have been married a year or two. They also become less attentive to one another as the honeymoon recedes into the past. We also explored and found little evidence for the accommodation model because, over time, the connections between spouses’ difficult personality or lack of compatibility and the strength of their bond did not weaken.

How does personality matter in marriage? An examination of trait anxiety, negativity, and marital satisfaction (with J. Caughlin & R. Houts). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2000, 78, 2, 326-336.

Although considerable research has linked personality to marital satisfaction, the processes by which personality influences satisfaction are not well understood. This study addressed that issue by focusing on trait anxiety (TA), the personality construct most commonly cited as a cause of marital dissatisfaction. Results from a 4 panel, 13 year longitudinal study of couples first married in 1981 most strongly supported interpersonal(rather than intrapersonal) models of how personality matters. In particular, there was only marginal support for a direct link between TA and one's own marital dissatisfaction (i.e., an intrapersonal model). However, newlywed measures of spouses' TA consistently predicted marital negativity, even 13 years later. Spouses' negativity, in turn, was associated with their partner's dissatisfaction. Also, consistent with the emotional contagion hypothesis, there were direct negative associations between spouses' TA and their partner's marital satisfaction, suggesting that people can "catch" bad moods from their mate. The results are discussed in terms of the larger implications for studying personality, martial interaction, and satisfaction in marriage. 

Roles: Work, Marriage, and Parenting

Women and Men as Spouses: How do gender-related attributes and beliefs influence marital behavior? (with Gilbert Geis). Journal of Social Issues,1993, 49, 87-106.

This article provides a differentiated, behaviorally-grounded, and data-based approach to the relationship between gender-related attributes and marital behavior patterns. It takes issue with views that classify men and women and their marriages as "traditional" and "nontraditional." Spouses' sex-role attitudes and stereotypic personality attributes, such as "masculinity" (instrumentality) and "femininity" (expressiveness) are examined in terms of their interrelationships, the kinds of people who marry each other, and the way the couples deal with such family matters as employment, the division of household labor, communication patterns, and time spent with friends and family. The results highlight the complexity of the intersection between gender and relationships and emphasize the necessity to study not just the extent to which marital relationships are behaviorally structured along traditional lines, but also the way in which marital behavior is influenced by (or ovaries with) the gender-related psychological dispositions and the sex-role attitudes of husbands and wives.

Sex role orientation and division of labor early in marriage (with Jean Atkinson). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1984, 46,330-345.

This study focused on the division of labor by PAIR Project partners when they were newlyweds. Husbands and wives (120 couples) completed the Attitudes Toward Women Scale, the Personal Attributes Questionnaire, and a measure assessing their perceived skill in carrying out 26 household tasks. Data on household task participation were gathered via nine separate phone interview. Tasks were classified into "male sex typed" and "female sex typed", based on whether they were performed more often by men or by women. Husbands' and wives' sex role attitudes were related to the extent to which wives, but not husbands, participated in the labor force. The more traditional the couple was in terms of their relative employment hours, the less the husband, relative to the wife, was involved in female sex-typed household tasks. No such connection was found for male sex-typed household tasks. Spouses' perceived skill at performing tasks traditionally assigned to the spouse of the opposite sex was significantly related to how traditional they were in household task participation. The findings suggest that the gender-related attitudes and skills of newlyweds influence the way their relationships come to be structured with regard to economic and instrumental activities.

Men and women as parents: Sex role orientations, employment, and parental roles with infants (with Susan McHale) Child Development, 1984, 55,1349-1361.

Mothers' and fathers' sex role orientations and employment situations were examined in connection with their later involvement in activities with their child. During interviews that took place about their 3 months from the date of their wedding, 34 couples completed questionnaires that measured their sex role attitudes, "masculinity," "femininity," the extent to which they believed they were skilled at performing child care tasks, and their preferences regarding the relative extent to which the mother and father should carry out child care tasks. Approximately 1 year later, after the couples had become parents, they were interviewed about their employment situations and again about their child-care skills and role preferences for performing child-care tasks.

The findings showed that mothers' sex role attitudes before their infants' births predicted their role preferences after their babies were born, and these two factors, as well as mothers' involvement in the paid labor force predicted their involvement in child-oriented activities. Mothers' "masculinity" and "femininity," however, were unrelated to their actual parenting behavior (gathered from the phone interviews). In contrast, fathers' work involvement was related only to the extent to which they engaged in leisure activities with children. In addition, fathers' role preferences regarding the performance of child-care tasks and their perceived skill at such tasks (as measured both before and after their children's births) were related to the overall extent and the nature of their involvement in activities with their children. Neither fathers' sex-role attitudes nor their masculinity or femininity, however, predicted their activities with infants.

Processes underlying father involvement in dual-earner and single-earner families (with A. Crouter, M. Perry-Jenkins, & S. McHale). Developmental Psychology, 1987, 23, 431-440.

Correlates of father involvement were examined in 20 dual-earner and 20 single-earner families drawn from the PAIR Project. All families had one child between 1 and 25 months of age. Parents completed questionnaires from which data were drawn on fathers' work hours, sex role attitudes, perceived skill at child care, and love for their wives. During the two-to-three weeks following these interviews, mothers and fathers were telephoned on nine occasions and asked to provide information concerning their involvement over a24-hour period in child care activities, leisure activities, and marital interactions. Fathers in dual-earner families were significantly more involved in child care than single-earner fathers, but the two groups did not differ in their level of involvement in leisure activities with their children. More important, there were different correlates of fathers involvement in the two families, patterns suggesting that dual-earner fathers may increase their involvement with their children at the expense of harmonious marital relations. The findings are discussed with regard to the importance of studying family processes in contrasting family ecologies.

The influence of work-induced psychological states on behavior at home (with A. C. Crouter, M. Perry-Jenkins, and D. W. Crawford). Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 1989, 10, 273-292.

This article explores the processes through which the emotional states workers experience at the end of employees work day come to be reflected in subsequent behavior at home. Previous research in this area is critiqued in terms of measurement issues and research design, and data drawn from the PAIR Project are used to illustrate ways in which spillover in moods from work to family could be more accurately examined. The study links self-reports of four psychological states (stress, fatigue, arousal, and depression), gathered from 29 men on two weekdays immediately upon returning home from work, to subsequent involvement in household tasks, leisure, and negative marital interactions. Group comparisons, comparing men "high" and "low" on the various states, produced a generally consistent pattern, although results were usually not statistically significant on both occasions of measurement. When non-parametric prediction analysis was utilized, however, a cleaner pattern emerged with high levels of stress and fatigue associated with lower involvement in housework, with low levels of stress and high levels of arousal associated with greater involvement in active leisure, and with high stress associated with higher levels of negative marital interactions. The data collection method used in this study is evaluated, the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology are identified, and implications for future research are considered.

The perils of love, or why wives adapt to husbands During the transition to parenthood (with E. M. Johnson). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1998, 60, 195-204.

Within a theoretical framework of interdependence and the feminization of love, we present evidence that wives' love for their husbands motivates them to align their preferences about the division of child-care tasks with their husbands' preferences During the transition to parenthood. The preferences of 69 couples were measured 2 months after they were wed and two years later, after the birth of their first child. Results of hierarchical linear regressions indicate that husbands' newlywed preferences and that the influence of husbands' preferences depend on the level of wives' love.

Types of Marriages

Patterns of married life among young couples (with M. P. Johnson, S. O. Gaines, and G. Levinger). Journal of Personal and Social Relationships,1992, 9, 343-364.

Cluster analysis was used to create a typology of marriage relationships, using data drawn from the third phase of the PAIR Project. Bernard's (1964) discussion of the definition of marriage provided the rationale for using the following five variables as a basis for creating the typology: (a) gender asymmetry in labor force participation; ((b) the extent to which household work is sex-typed; ) the amount of leisure time spouses spent together; (d) the difference between the husband and wife in the amount of leisure time spent with friends; and (e) the difference between husband and wife in leisure time spent with kin.

The results indicated that marriages fall into four major types, two of which correspond roughly with Bernard's "parallel" and "interactional" types. The four types were: (1) symmetrical (42%); (b) parallel (27%); (c) differentiated (companionate which was similar to Bernard's interactional type) (21%); and (d) role reversed (10%). All five variables used in the cluster analysis contributed to distinguishing the marital types. The typology was replicated using data from the same couples when they were newlyweds, as well as after the couples had been married one year. The four groups created in the first cluster analysis were differentiable in terms of their sex-role attitudes and their likelihood of having children, but they did not differ in marital satisfaction.

Commitment

The tripartite nature of marital commitment: Personal, moral, and structural reasons to stay married (with M. P. Johnson and J.P. Caughlin) (1999). Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 160-177.

This study assesses the empirical viability of Johnson's (1991) commitment framework, the core principle of which is that commitment, rather than being a unitary phenomenon, involves three distinct sets of experiences: wanting to stay married (personal commitment), feeling obligated to stay married (moral commitment), and feeling constrained to stay married (structural commitment). The data presented offer compelling support for the position that the proper analysis of commitment requires attention to the distinctions among the three types of commitment. First, measures of the three experiences are not highly correlated with each other. Second, a measure of so-called global commitment is demonstrated to be a function primarily, if not exclusively, of personal commitment. Third, the data demonstrate that the three types of commitment and their components are not associated in the same way with other variables. They are not only distinguishable concepts, but their causes and consequences are different. Given the tripartite nature of commitment, researchers must move beyond anchoring their analyses in personal commitment, to focus instead on understanding the origins of all three types of commitment, how various combinations of the types are experienced, and how they affect the ways couples function as a unit and whether their relationship endures over time.

 


Long-term Quality and Stability


Reasons for divorce: A comparison between former partners. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage (with J. J. Ponzetti, A. M. Zvonkovic, & R. M. Cate). 1992, 17, 183-201.

This study is based on individual interviews with both members of couples who had divorced. The interviewees were drawn from couples in the PAIR Project who divorced within after a relatively brief marriage and another group of couples who had participated in a study carried out in Oregon. The study focused on assessing the types of reasons given by former spouses, and investigating the extent of agreement between their reports of the divorce process. Men recalled reasons that had less to do with the marriage itself, but focused on individual issues or external circumstances. The accounts of former couples in which both ex-souses recalled similar reasons were characterized by vivid, concrete, and easily remembered factors, such as physical separation, specific behavior, health problems, or violations of marital expectations.

The early marital roots of conjugal distress and divorce (with T. Huston, S. Niehuis, & S. Smith). Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2001, 10, 116-119.

This article summarizes research that challenges conventional wisdom about the early roots of marital distress and divorce. We abstract results from a 13-year study that focused on the extent to which long-term marital satisfaction and stability could be forecast from newlywed and early marital data. We explore the usefulness of three models-emergent distress, enduring dynamics, and disillusionment-designed to explain why some marriages thrive and others fail. The dominant paradigm, the emergent distress model, sees newlyweds as homogenously blissful and posits that distress develops as disagreements and negativity escalate, ultimately leading some couples to divorce. The results we summarize run counter to this model and suggest instead that (a) newlyweds differ considerably in the intensity of their behavior toward one another and, for those who remain married, these early dynamics persist over time; and (b) for couples who divorce, romance seems to deteriorate differently depending on how long the marriage lasts. Soon after their wedding, “early exiters” seem to lose hope of improving an unpromising relationship; “delayed-action divorcers” begin marriage on a particularly high note, yet quickly show signs of disillusionment. These delayed-action divorcers give up on the marriage long after the romance has faded.

Courtship and the newlywed years: What they tell us about the future of a marriage (with S. Niehuis & S. Smith). Revista de Psicologia Social y Personalidad, 2001, 16, 55-178.

This synopsis of research presents evidence that challenges conventional wisdom about the early roots of marital distress and divorce. We summarize results from a 13-year longitudinal study that used newlywed and early marital data to predict long-term marital satisfaction and stability. The results bear on three models that have been put forth to explain why some marriages thrive and others fail. Consistent with the enduring dynamics model, differences in the intensity of newlyweds’ romance and their expression of negative feelings toward each other predicted (1) whether they were happy 13 years later (for those who remained married), and (2) how long their marriage lasted prior to separating (for those who divorced). The results provide little support for the idea that the emergence of distress (i.e., increasing negativity) early in marriage leads to unhappiness or divorce, but instead show that disillusionment- as reflected, for example, in the loss of love and affection – distinguished couples who divorced from those who remained married. The process of disillusionment differs, however, depending on how long the marriage lasts. Those who divorce after many years – “Delayed-Action Divorcer” – tend to rush into marriage after a short, romantic courtship, only to become quickly disappointed. Those who divorce soon – “Early Exiters” – are involved in troubled courtships, and consequently fall out of love soon after the wedding, perhaps as they lose hope of improving an unpromising marriage.

The Connubial Crucible (with J. Caughlin, R. Houts, S. Smith, & L. George). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2001, 80, 2, 237-252.

This article examines the early marital antecedents of distress and divorce, drawing on follow-up data gathered in 1994-1995 from 153 couples who had participated As newlyweds in a three-wave panel study of marriage. Two models of marital distress -- the perpetual problems and disillusionment model -- were used to make predictions concerning the long-term fate of marriages. Data gathered from couples at yearly intervals early in marriage were used to map stability and changes in cohesiveness (love, expression of affection) and agonism (ambivalence, expression of negativity). A five-fold scheme was used to distinguish the long-term fate of the married (happy vs. not happy) couples and those who divorced (broken into three groups depending upon the length of their marriage). Couples who divorced later (after being married at least 7 years) were highly affectionate and in love as newlyweds, but they quickly became disaffected, suggesting that disappointment and disillusionment may have set them up for divorce. In contrast, spouses later found in mutually satisfying marriages were less affectionate as newlyweds than those who divorced late but, consistent with the perpetual problems model, they were more affectionate and in love and less negative and ambivalent than couples found later in not happy marriages. Marriages that ended early (between 2 and 6 years) were initially similar to those of couples involved in stable, but not happy marriages; however, their negativity and ambivalence increased and the wives' love dissipated over the first two years. The briefly married (<2 years) couples were less strongly drawn toward each other, and wherefore ambivalent and negative, even as newlyweds.


Theses and Dissertations Based on the PAIR Project


Atkinson, Jean. A causal model of the division of household labor. Doctoral dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, 1984.

Chorost, A. The maintenance and change of cognitive schemata in marital relationships: Does love blind? Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1995

Crawford, Duane. Patterns of leisure companionship during the early marital relationship. Doctoral Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, 1988.(Supervised by Ann Crouter).

Chia-Chang, Szu. Marriage as an environment: Toward a model of processes of adaptation in marriage. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1995

Dillon, Sandra. Socioemotional behavior, marital love, and companionship: Unempirical investigation of a social learning model. Master's Thesis, The University of Texas at Austin, 1987.

Graham, Lois. When the Honeymoon's Over: The effect of marital companionship and kinship relations on marital satisfaction during the first twenty-seven months of marriage. The University of Texas at Austin, 1991.

Hall, Judith A. Communication as an influence on the development of marital satisfaction across the early years of marriage. Master's Thesis, The Pennsylvania state University, 1989. (Supervised by Ann Crouter).

Kjolby, Helen. The effect of role patterns and stressful life events on the affective quality of marital interaction and satisfaction. Doctoral Dissertation, The university of Texas at Austin, 1991.

Losoff, Michael. Early married adults' involvement with friends. Master's Thesis, The Pennsylvania State University, 1986.

MacDermid, Shelley. An examination of crossover relationships among aspects of work and the marital satisfaction of worker's spouses. Master's Thesis, The Pennsylvania state University, 1986. (Supervised by Ann Crouter).

McLeod, Lynda. Marital satisfaction in four types of marriage. Master's Thesis, The University of Texas at Austin, 1989.

Monday, Pamela Jane. Transgenerational ties: A longitudinal study of the relationship between parental pressure and involvement and spouses' marital satisfaction. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1990.

Moore, Leslie. Parents' selection of control strategies with toddlers: The role of child behaviors and parental affect. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1987.

Noll, Daniel. Personality factors and mediating socioemotional behaviors in marital satisfaction. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1994.

Parkinson, Beth. Sexual satisfaction in early marriage. Doctoral Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, 1987.

Perry-Jenkins, Maureen. The impact of the family work week on marital companionship. Master's Thesis, The Pennsylvania State University, 1986 (Supervised by Ann Crouter).

Reid, Chris. Premarital origins of marital satisfaction. Master's Thesis, The University of Texas at Austin, 1987.

Robins, Elliot. A theoretical and empirical investigation of compatibility testing in marital choice. Doctoral Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, 1985.

Scherer, Kathy. Accommodation and equity in the division of household labor. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, 1993.

Zvonkovic, Anisa. For richer or poorer: The effects of income change on marital interaction and satisfaction. Master's Thesis, The Pennsylvania State University,1983.

Zvonkovic, Anisa. Divorce in the early years of marriage: Identifying antecedents and processes. Doctoral Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, 1987. 


The PAIR Project at the University of Texas at Austin
Principal Investigator, Ted L. Huston
Page last modified: 7 February 2003