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Marital adjustment and ego states in transactional analysis Hiland, Patricia Ann


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the ego state patterns of couples and their level of marital adjustment. The research sample consisted of eighty-one married or cohabitating couples. Marital or dyadic adjustment was measured by the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976) and ego states were measured by the Personal Response Questionnaire (Kealy, 1975). On the basis of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale results, two groups were formed by rank ordering the couples' combined scores. Group I consisted of the top thirty of the eighty-one couples and Group II consisted of the bottom thirty of the eighty-one couples. A t-test (α = .001) was calculated to analyze the difference between the means of the two groups on the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the results showed that the high dyadically group differed significantly (α = .001) from the low dyadically adjusted group. Ego state difference scores for the couples were calculated by subtracting the male ego state scores from the female ego state scores for all six ego states. Six t-tests (α = .05) were calculated to analyze the differences between the means of each of the six ego state measures for the two groups. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated between the Critical Parent and Adaptive Child ego state scores and the Nurturing Parent and Adaptive Child ego state scores for the couples of each group, in order to test the hypotheses regarding the relationships of these variables. Descriptive data were presented to illustrate any differences or similarities in personality profiles between the two groups. The results of the statistical testing of the null hypotheses, including the t-tests and the correlation coefficients (α = .05), indicated that of the eight hypotheses, only the hypotheses regarding the Adult ego state variable was rejected. According to the results it would appear that the high dyadically adjusted couples evidenced statistically significant (α = .05) lower ego state difference scores in the Adult ego state than the low dyadically adjusted couples. This statistically significant result was in accordance with the literature on marriage, which holds that similarity of spouses (homogamy) has a positive effect on the marital relationship and its corresponding satisfaction and adjustment. Reasons for the lack of statistically significant results, other than for the Adult ego state variable, were discussed and recommendations for future research were suggested.

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