UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Christian beliefs, moral commitment, and marital stability Brandt, Robyn


The relationship between moral commitment and marital stability is examined within Johnson's (1991) commitment framework using two religious populations. Beliefs and internal factors are emphasized over external constraints and barriers. Johnson's model of commitment is discussed and modified to incorporate beliefs and Johnson's construct of moral commitment assumes central importance in the study. Moral commitment is hypothesized to directly effect marital stability, and moderate the effects of personal and structural commitment on stability. Self-administered questionnaires are distributed to two Brethren churches (fundamentalist) and two United churches (liberal). These Protestant churches are matched by geographic location to control for ethnic and economic differences. Sixty-three participants return the 10-page survey. Bivariate and multivariate analyses are performed on the variables in the commitment model using logistic and multiple regression. The results indicate that both beliefs and moral commitment are significant factors in the study of marital stability. Moral commitment was related to both structural and personal commitment. Despite there being no direct effect between moral commitment and marital stability, moral commitment is related to the other factors of personal and structural commitment which are in turn related to marital stability. Moral commitment did not moderate the effects of personal and structural commitment on marital stability. The results also suggest that gender is an important control variable in commitment theory, with respect to religious populations. Religious beliefs were highly correlated with moral commitment. The age distribution of the participants and small sample size were among the limitations that prevent generalizability of the results to other religious populations. Limited variation in the marital stability scores may have restricted the number and strength of significant findings. It is suggested that future research include both religious and non-religious groups in the study of beliefs as they related to marital stability.

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