Two Commitment Levels As Indicative Of Marital Expectations


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In the project, we used two competing commitment models to examine newlywed women’s expectations of infidelity and divorce: the Investment Model, which predicts commitment from satisfaction (satisfaction with current relationship), relationship investments (time, effort, or money invested in the relationship), and quality of alternatives (third parties that those in the relationship perceive to be an alternative to their current mate), and the Commitment Framework, which describes commitment in terms of personal (desire to be in the relationship), moral (being on a relationship due to held moral principles), and constraint (being in a relationship in order to be able to survive, due to inability to work, etc.) factors.
In this study, we seek to identify which specific components of these models best predict women’s expectations of infidelity and divorce, and newlywed women’s expectations of infidelity and divorce, particularly in the first two years of marriage when satisfaction typically declines.
One hundred and ninety seven women who had been married two years or less completed an online survey. Participants were representative of geographic regions across the U.S.
The study is limited to women because women can support themselves now, as women’s roles in marriages have changed drastically over time. In the past, women had to stay committed for structural reasons, such as inability to provide for themselves financially. Today, more women are part of the workforce, which gives them greater financial freedom and the ability to terminate an unhappy relationship.

It also gives them increased exposure to alternative partners, which puts them at greater risk of infidelity. Such reasons indicate that women may seek personal satisfaction in relationships, which is indicative of personal commitment rather than structural reasons to marry.
Finally, this study focuses on marriages without children, as research shows that children can be a protective factor on marriages. Due to the intractable influence that children impose on relationships, this study only focuses on marriages without children, as children may add a structural commitment, which may confound results.
Findings from this study indicate that women are more likely to expect infidelity if they have low personal commitment, and moral commitment. Also, exposure to alternative partners (e.g., through workforce participation) increased their expectations of infidelity. Women are also more likely to expect divorce if they have lower personal commitment and lower relationship satisfaction. The biggest predictor of infidelity and divorce expectations was personal commitment suggesting that marriage today is based on personal fulfillment or a desire to be in the relationship. When a person no longer feels that they want to be married, their expectations of divorce increase, irrespective of moral or structural obligations.
Practitioners can use this information to help couples make realistic, informed choices about marriage. Marital instability can be reduced by preventing marriages in which partners expect infidelity or divorce from the outset.

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  • Personal introduction… Name, Faculty Advisor, Department… then introduce topic
  • Why do people marry? If you ask, more than likely they will tell you that … (NEXT SLIDE)
  • They do it for love! (NEXT SLIDE)
  • Yet it was not always so, as before… (NEXT SLIDE)
  • Both men and women benefited from marriage in the past. Although in most cases, they may have not initially married for love, it may have developed once partners married. Women had no other options in the past. Women could not abandon the family and survive (unlike men)
  • After many changes (the 1970’s women revolution, no fault divorce laws)the role of women in the marriage changed, as they do not depend on men anymore and marry for their own reasons. Likewise, men do not depend on women either, freeing both partners to marry for personal, rather than survival or economic reasons
  • The problem with all this is that marriages that are based PRIMARILY on personal rather than structural reasons….
  • are more fragile, and are more prone to experience infidelity and/or end in divorce.
  • To understand the nature of commitment, we will use two different commitment models.
  • The commitment framework…. (describe each type of commitment)
  • Perhaps can go into more detail (10 minutes to fill)
  • Investment model
  • Better visualization
  • Using these two models, We seek to look into newly married women’s own expectations…..
  • of infidelity and divorce
  • More specifically… we are using two competing commitment models to see which components of commitment would predict infidelity and divorce expectations, we used research questions rather than specific hypotheses as we did not know which model would better predict expectations, however we believed that personal commitment and satisfaction would be significant predictors.
  • Discuss where/how the sample was obtained, why less than 2 years married, no children, and why only women
  • Describe the analysis.. Perhaps reiterate the different types of commitment (time permitting)
  • Segue into results
  • Overall, both models are good predictors of infidelity and divorce expectations, furthermore, they are better predictors of divorce expectations than infidelity expectations (R square = medium effect @ .3)
  • Personal and Moral commitment here were significant
  • In this model only quality of alternatives was significant
  • Personal commitment
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • All items were on a 7-point liker scale ranging from “Don’t agree at all” to “Agree completely”
  • All items were on a 7-point liker scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”
  • Two Commitment Levels As Indicative Of Marital Expectations

    1. 1. Two Commitment Models as Indicative of Marital Expectations of Newlywed Women<br />Carlos G. Flores<br />Dr. Kelly Campbell (Faculty Advisor)<br />Department of Psychology<br />California State University San Bernardino<br />
    2. 2. introduction<br />
    3. 3.
    4. 4.
    5. 5. Yet it was not always so…<br />
    6. 6.
    7. 7.
    8. 8. Problem<br />
    9. 9.
    10. 10. Two differing commitment models<br />
    11. 11. Commitment Framework<br />Personal Commitment<br />“Want to”<br />Moral Commitment<br />“Ought to”<br />Structural Commitment<br />“Have to”<br />
    12. 12.
    13. 13. Investment Model<br />Satisfaction<br />With current relationship<br />Size of Investment<br />Can be material and immaterial<br />Quality of Alternatives<br />To current relationship<br />
    14. 14.
    15. 15. ?<br />
    16. 16.
    17. 17. Research Questions<br />What are women’s expectations of infidelity and divorce, particularly in the first two years of marriage when satisfaction typically declines? <br />What specific components of the Investment Model and the Commitment Framework best predict women’s expectations of infidelity and divorce?<br />
    18. 18. Sample<br />197 Women<br />Online Questionnaires<br />Newly Married<br />Less than 2 years Married<br />Long enough to have already experienced dissatisfaction<br />Without Children<br />Why Women?<br />Change in marriage roles (more than men)<br />Usually engage more in relational maintenance<br />More willing than men to discuss relationship<br />
    19. 19. Analysis<br />Standard multiple regression analysis used to investigate association between predictors:<br />Commitment Framework (items by Johnson et al., 1999)<br />Personal reasons to marry<br />Moral reasons to marry<br />Structural reasons to marry<br />Investment Model (Investment Model Scale, Rusbult et al., 1998)<br />Satisfaction in relationship<br />Size of investment<br />Quality of alternatives<br /> and criteria:<br />Infidelity Expectations Questions by Campbell, 2008<br />Divorce Expectations<br />
    20. 20. Results<br />
    21. 21. Overall Linear Model<br /><ul><li>Both models were significantly related to infidelity expectations, F(7, 166) = 4.81, p= .000
    22. 22. R = .411, Adjusted R2 = .134
    23. 23. Both models were also significantly related to divorce expectations, F(7, 166) = 16.04, p= .000
    24. 24. R = .635, Adjusted R2 = .378
    25. 25. Models were more strongly related to divorce expectations than infidelity expectations</li></li></ul><li>Infidelity Expectations: Commitment Framework<br />* p &lt; .05 <br />
    26. 26. Infidelity Expectations: Investment Model<br />* p &lt; .05 <br />
    27. 27. Divorce Expectations:Commitment Framework<br />* p &lt; .05 <br />
    28. 28. Divorce Expectations: Investment Model<br />* p &lt; .05 <br />
    29. 29. Discussion<br />Marriage has changed from being based on social or economic obligations to a personal choice based on love<br />This shift caused marriage to become more unstable<br />The biggest predictors of infidelity and divorce expectations were personal commitment and personal satisfaction<br />
    30. 30. Discussion continued<br />Findings support the idea that marriage is based on personal fulfillment<br />Once love and satisfaction fade, infidelity and divorce are considered viable options. <br />Information gleaned from this study can be used by clinicians to help couples make informed decisions about marriage, and thereby reduce marital instability.<br />
    31. 31. End<br />
    32. 32. Investment Model Scale Sample Items<br />Relationship Commitment<br />“I am committed to maintaining my relationship with my partner.”<br />Relationship Satisfaction<br />“My partner fulfills my needs for companionship (doing things together, enjoying each others company etc.)”<br />Quality of Alternatives<br />“My needs for intimacy, companionship etc., could easily be fulfilled in an alternative relationship”<br />Relationship Investments<br />“I put a great deal into our relationship that I would lose if the relationship were to end”<br />
    33. 33. Commitment Framework Sample Items<br />Personal Commitment<br />“To what extent do you love your partner at this stage?”<br />Moral Commitment<br />“If you divorced, to what extent would you be disappointed in yourself because you had broken a sacred vow?”<br />Structural Commitment<br />“If you and your partner were to divorce: you would miss important income, insurance, and other property”<br />