Value convergence as it relates to marital adjustment of twenty-five well-adjusted and twenty-five maladjusted couples in southeast Massachusetts
Martin, John D.
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The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to investigate empirically whether there is an association between value system similarity and marital adjustment; and (2) to examine qualitatively the nature of that association. The relationship between mutual values and marital adjustment has long been assumed to be a strong one, although little research has been done to verify the assumption. The theoretical framework and empirical instrument developed by Milton Rokeach were used to define and measure the independent variable, value convergence. A value is defined as a belief centrally located in the belief system about how one ought to behave or about an end-state of existence which a person considers worth attaining. A value system is the rank order of a person's values in terms of their importance to him. Two separate value systems are postulated, a terminal value system (goals for living) and an instrumental value system (modes of behaving). The term, value convergence, refers to the degree of similarity or agreement in value systems existing between husband and wife. The conceptual approach and adjustment test of Harvey J. Locke were employed to define and measure the dependent variable, marital adjustment. The term, marital adjustment, refers to the level of adaptation of husband and wife in such a way as to resolve conflicts sufficiently so that both spouses feel satisfied with their marriage and with one another, develop common interests and activities, and feel that their marriage is fulfilling their expectations. Two major theoretical hypotheses were constructed which, summarily stated, posit a greater degree of terminal and instrumental value convergence between well-adjusted than maladjusted spouses. Control hypotheses were also theoretically generated on certain demographic variables in order to check on the uniformity of the sample groups. In order to test the general hypothesis an investigation was conducted with 50 married couples, all of whom reside in a twelve-town area in southeast Massachusetts. Twenty-five maladjusted couples were selected from consecutive admissions for marriage counseling at the Plymouth Area Mental Health Center. Twenty-five well-adjusted couples were drawn from a subject pool of 35 happily married couples recommended for participation in the project by clergymen. The 25 couples scoring highest on the Locke Marital Relationship Inventory were selected to comprise the well-adjusted group. Data on couples' value systems were obtained by using the Rokeach Value Survey and a semi-projective sentence completion instrument designed by the researcher. The results of the quantitative investigation were found to be positive and significant. The results showed that well-adjusted couples had more similar terminal and instrumental values than did maladjusted couples. Like instrumental values were further found to be more strongly associated with good marital adjustment than like terminal values. In other words, it is important that couples agree on their goals for living but, even more crucial, that they concur regarding modes of behaving. The findings from the qualitative inquiry into the nature of the association between the variables revealed that well-adjusted couples with like values differ from their counterparts in that they (1) perceive the future positively sharing similar goals, (2) make decisions conjointly agreeing on means, and (3) experience a high degree of marital unity based on common goals and shared activities. On the basis of the findings from the quantitative and qualitative investigations, it was concluded that level of marital adjustment is positively related to degree of value convergence. Value system similarity appears to be important as two people interact with one another over a long period of time, and as they engage in long range planning.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University. Note: missing pages: 40, 212, and 214.PLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.