Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


University of Northern Iowa--Students; University of Northern Iowa; Married students--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Marriage; Married students; Self-perception; Students; Iowa--Cedar Falls;


In light of the widespread dissatisfaction with marital relationships currently being expressed by couples in the United States, a research study concerning marital adjustment and self-concept was undertaken. Self-concept was chosen to be examined in relation to marital adjustment because of its generally agreed upon importance in interpersonal behavior. A positive relationship between self-concept and marital adjustment would provide a conceptual framework from which to view marital adjustment and would suggest therapeutic approaches for dealing with the problem. The research problem, then, was to examine the relationship between marital adjustment and self-concept.

A review of the literature showed marital adjustment to be related to several constructs including academic achievement, emotional maturity and communication. Marital adjustment was seen as a process, mediated by individual characteristics, such as self-acceptance and perceptions of the relationship. Self-concept was considered to be a primary determinant of interpersonal behaviors and was shown to affect both the giving and receiving of communication.

Data for the study was gathered by administering a marital adjustment inventory and a self-concept scale to a sample (n = 90) of married college students. Statistical analysis of the data included correlations between test scores, an analysis of variance involving the test scores and the variables of sex, age and length of marriage, t-tests comparing mean differences of the scores of individuals in extreme groups, descriptive statistics and demographic data.

Results of the data indicated a young, highly employed sample with very few children, a mean age of 22. 6 years, and a mean length of marriage of 25 months. All correlations between test scores were significant. The analysis of variance indicated an interaction effect between length of marriage and scores on the instruments and between age and scores on the instruments. In general, individuals in younger age groups and in groups of shorter marriages had higher scores on the instruments. The t-tests indicated that the individuals who had high or low marital adjustment scores also had high or low self-concept scores.

Previous research concerning marital adjustment and self-concept and the results of this study suggest a synthesis in terms of self-concept. The interpersonal skills and behaviors which are prerequisites for the continual process of effective marital adjustment, and for other interactional endeavors as well, are primarily affected by, and are very likely a function of, self-concept.

Implications of the research here were that marriage counselors should, in many instances, adopt an individual perspective, and that marriage counselors should consider the effects and dynamics of self-concept in their various treatment strategies.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education


Department of School Administration and Personnel Services

First Advisor

Robert L. Frank


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to scholarworks@uni.edu and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (75 pages)



File Format