Week 8 Outline - 11/17/2009 I. Defining a Successful...

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11/17/2009 I. Defining a Successful Marriage A) Stability 1. Likelihood a couple remains married 2. Marriage may not be equally satisfying to both partners 3. Marriage can endure despite being unhappy or unsatisfying 4. Marriage works in a variety of forms a) conflict-habituated marriage (semi-constant conflict, bickering. partners still view selves as happily married) b) devitalized marriage (share space together, but not particularly bonded) c) passive-congenial marriage (like a roommate situation, well-bonded and congenial, but minimal sexual intimacy. Both are generally content.) d) vital/total marriage (closely bonded, emotionally & sexually intimate, may have conflict, but not at a high level) B) Satisfaction/quality of relationship 1. evaluations about relationship, specific behaviors, and interaction patterns 2. spouses may not share same evaluation 3. not just the absence of dissatisfaction 4. changes over the life course C) Models of Marital Satisfaction 1. Curvilinear (U-shaped) pattern of marital happiness over the life course a) popular in 1960s, 1970s b) looks at satisfaction over the life course c) happiness highest right after marriage, falls dramatically after having kids, rises slightly after kids leave home, but does not reach pre-kid levels of happiness 2. Slightly curvilinear pattern a) more recent b) steepest declines in earliest years of marriage c) slight increase in happiness as kids are older/leave home d) marital quality in later years 1) 3 outcomes: may be improving, flattening out, or a steep decline D) Explanations: Changes in Family Roles and Structures 1. Effect of Children a) shifts focus away from the spouse, towards kids b) marital satisfaction declines with addition of each child c) marital satisfaction declines even more as children enter
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adolescence d) marital satisfaction improves after children leave the nest *e) people who have now adult children are happier than couples of similar age who never had children 2. Other Family Changes a) wives moving into & out of paid labor force (control over schedule flexibility matters more than hours) b) increase or decline in family income (and change, up or down, creates stress) c) declining health of a parent, spouse, or child d) retirement a) assumes changes due to developmental processes that are
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This note was uploaded on 10/26/2010 for the course SOC 351 taught by Professor Schwartz during the Fall '09 term at University of Washington.

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Week 8 Outline - 11/17/2009 I. Defining a Successful...

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