A study of the sex-role attitudes and marital adjustment of female doctoral candidates and their spouses during the course of doctoral study Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zc77st75d

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  • National statistics indicate substantially higher rates of divorce in doctoral student households where the female, rather than the male, is the degree candidate. This research was designed to examine the married female's experiences and to identify factors which possibly contribute to the differential divorce statistics for males and females. The central objectives of the study were to investigate the sex-role attitudes and marital adjustment of female doctoral candidates and their spouses to: 1) determine if marital adjustment was related to spouses' attitudes toward sex-appropriate roles; 2) determine if a predictable pattern of marital adjustment, common to all doctoral couples during the course of doctoral study, could be anticipated and plotted graphically; and 3) determine if selected demographic variables were related to marital adjustment. The sample for the research was drawn from the total population of female doctoral students enrolled in Oregon State University's School of Education. In order to gain a balanced perspective, both wives and their spouses were included in the study. All of the respondent couples were married at the time the wife began her program, and had remained together through the completion of her dissertation. A total of sixty respondents participated in a series of in-depth personal interviews. Several instruments, including the Marital Adjustment Inventory, the Domestic Responsibilities Questionnaire, the Attitudes Toward Women Scale, and a demographic questionnaire were administered retrospectively to each respondent. The methodology required couples to look back over the entire period of doctoral study and respond to questions about their marital relationship by using different time periods as points of reference. A graphing procedure was also utilized which allowed respondents to graphically plot the changes in their marital adjustment during the stages of doctoral study. Pearson's coefficient of correlation and one-way analysis of variance were applied in testing the various hypotheses. The following findings were considered significant at the .05 level of confidence: 1. There was a significant difference in the marital adjustment of female doctoral students and their spouses prior to entering the doctoral program and during the various stages of doctoral study. A curvilinear relationship was found to exist between marital adjustment and the stage in the wife's educational program. Adjustment levels for both spouses were lowest during the wife's first two terms on campus and during preliminary examinations. However, during the candidate stage, wives experienced an increase in adjustment that was higher than any previously recorded level. Husbands, on the other hand, did not exhibit a similar recovery in marital adjustment. 2. No significant linear relationship existed between sex-role attitudes and marital adjustment. However, both husbands and wives held similar attitudes toward women which could be characterized as pro-feminist. 3. A significant relationship existed between the wife's satisfaction with the allocation of domestic responsibility and her marital adjustment. The more satisfied she was with the division of domestic responsibility within the household, the higher her adjustment level. It is noteworthy, however, that despite support for an egalitarian relationship, couples did not modify the distribution of responsibility during the time the wife was a student. Females were performing the majority of duties traditionally-defined as "women's work" while their spouses were performing sex-appropriate male responsibilities. It was recommended that further research be conducted to include married male doctoral students as a control to contrast with the female experience. Additionally, the scope and size of the population should be expanded to include doctoral students who were divorced or separated during doctoral study to identify their adjustment patterns and learn more about the factors that might have contributed to their marital instability.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-08-22T18:53:17Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 LewisLindaH1981.pdf: 1488944 bytes, checksum: 28b851796b7f9e278ec4039a6f3606c6 (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2013-08-27T17:24:06Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 LewisLindaH1981.pdf: 1488944 bytes, checksum: 28b851796b7f9e278ec4039a6f3606c6 (MD5)
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