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Chapter 10 Marriage and Intimate Relationships. Challenges to the Traditional Model of Marriage, continued Marriage – the legally and socially sanctioned.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 10 Marriage and Intimate Relationships. Challenges to the Traditional Model of Marriage, continued Marriage – the legally and socially sanctioned."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 10 Marriage and Intimate Relationships

2 Challenges to the Traditional Model of Marriage, continued Marriage – the legally and socially sanctioned union of sexually intimate adults. Traditionally, it has also included –Economic interdependence. –Common residence. –Sexual fidelity. –Shared responsibility for children.

3 Challenges, continued However, the following social trends have challenged the traditional model of marriage: 1.Increased acceptance of singlehood – since the 1960s, the median age at which people marry has been increasing (see Figure 10.1). 2.Increased acceptance of cohabitation – living together in a sexually intimate relationship without the legal bonds of marriage.

4 Figure 10.1. Median age at first marriage. The median age at which people in the United States marry for the first time has been creeping up for both males and females since the mid-1960s. This trend indicates that more people are postponing marriage. (Data from U.S. Bureau of the Census)

5 Challenges, continued Trends, continued 3.Reduced premium on permanence. 4.Transitions in gender roles – role expectations are more varied, flexible, and ambiguous. 5.Increased voluntary childlessness. 6.Decline of the nuclear family.

6 Deciding to Marry, continued Cultural influences on marriages 80% of world cultures practice arranged marriages. Priority is placed on the familys, rather than the individuals, welfare.

7 Deciding to Marry, continued Selecting a mate Monogamy - the practice of having only one spouse at a time. Polygamy - involves having more than one spouse at a time. –Polygamy is practiced in many cultures. –It is most common where women have little or no independence, access to education, or political power.

8 Deciding to Marry, continued Selecting a mate, continued Endogamy – the tendency of people to marry within their own social group. Homogamy – the tendency of people to marry others who have similar personal characteristics.

9 Deciding to Marry, continued Selecting a mate, continued Gender and mate selection preferences –Women place more value on a potential partners socioeconomic status, intelligence, ambition, and financial prospects. –Men place more value on a potential partners youthfulness and physical attractiveness.

10 Deciding to Marry, continued Predictors of marital success –Family background – people whose parents were divorced are more likely to divorce themselves. –Age – those who marry at a younger age are more likely to divorce. –Length of courtship – longer periods of courtship are associated with marital success. –Personality – perfectionism and insecurity are loosely associated with marital problems.

11 Deciding to Marry, continued Predictors of marital success, continued –Personality – perfectionism and insecurity are loosely associated with marital problems. –Premarital interaction – quality of premarital communication is especially crucial. In particular, negativity, sarcasm, insulting remarks and being unsupportive are all associated with marital distress.

12 Marital Adjustments, continued The family life cycle – is an orderly sequence of developmental stages that families tend to progress through. McGoldricks (1988, 1999) model outlines the special challenges that are faced by couples as they progress through six stages of family life (see Figure 10.4).

13 Figure 10.4 Stages of the family life cycle. The family life cycle can be divided into six stages, as shown here (based on Carter & McGoldrick, 1988). The familys key developmental task during each stage is identified in the second column. The third column lists additional developmental tasks at each stage.

14 Marital Adjustments, continued McGoldricks model, continued 1.Between families: the unattached young adult As people postpone marriage, this stage will likely lengthen. 2.Joining together: the newly married couple This honeymoon phase is characterized by high levels of satisfaction.

15 Marital Adjustments, continued McGoldricks model, continued 3.Family with young children Birth of the first child brings a major transition and potential stress, especially for mothers. The key to reducing stress during this transition is having realistic expectations.

16 Marital Adjustments, continued McGoldricks model, continued 4.Family with adolescent children Adolescence is rated as the most difficult stage of parenting, and marital satisfaction is at its lowest point. Conflict is especially likely between teens (both males and females) and mothers. In addition, many couples are also caring for their own aging parents. These double responsibilities spurred the term, the sandwich generation.

17 Marital Adjustments, continued McGoldricks model, continued 5.Launching children into the adult world. Also called the empty nest phase, it was traditionally thought to create feelings of loss. However, womens roles extend beyond parenthood, and this is now generally associated with greater marital satisfaction. Problems usually only occur when adult children return to the nest.

18 Marital Adjustments, continued McGoldricks model, continued 6.The family in later life Marital satisfaction tends to climb in the postparental period when couples have more time to devote to one another. This continues until a spouses health begins to decline and/or a spouse dies.

19 Vulnerable Areas, continued 1.Gaps in role expectations –There are now new expectations about marital roles, and women are especially affected. More women now have demanding careers. Yet, they are often interrupted to have children or to follow their husbands. –In addition, wives still do 65% of the household chores, even when they work similar hours (see Figure 10.5).

20 Figure 10.5 Division of household labor. This chart breaks down the proportion of housework done by husbands and wives for specific tasks. The data show that wives continue to do a highly disproportionate share of most household tasks, especially the core housework tasks (cooking, cleaning, laundry) that are hard to ignore. Note also, that in spite of great changes in modern life, the division of labor in the household still largely meshes with traditional gender roles. (Data from Bianchi et al., 2000)

21 Vulnerable Areas, continued 2.Work and career issues –Work and marital adjustment Husbands and wives struggle to balance the demands of work and family. However, benefits of multiple roles to both spouses include –Social support. –Increased income. –Having more in common.

22 Vulnerable Areas, continued 2.Work and career issues, continued –Parents work and childrens development. Parents often worry about the impact of their dual careers on the children. However, there is actually little evidence that a mothers working is harmful to her children, especially after the child is one year of age.

23 Vulnerable Areas, continued 3.Financial difficulties –Serious financial worries tend to cause Increased hostility in husbands. Increased depression in wives. Lower marital happiness in both spouses. –In addition, risk of separation and divorce increases as husbands income declines. –Arguments over how to spend money are common and potentially damaging at all income levels.

24 Vulnerable Areas, continued 4.Inadequate communication –Communication problems are the most frequently cited problem among couples getting a divorce (see Figure 10.6). –In addition, unhappy couples Find it difficult to convey positive messages. Misunderstand each other more often. Dont recognize theyve been misunderstood. Use more negative messages. Prefer different amounts of self-disclosure.

25 Figure 10.6 Causes of divorce. When Cleek and Pearson (1985) asked divorcing couples about their perceptions regarding the causes of their divorce, both men and women cited communication difficulties more than any other cause.

26 Vulnerable Areas, continued Inadequate communication, continued Four communication patterns that are risk factors for divorce are 1.Contempt. 2.Criticism. 3.Defensiveness. 4.Stonewalling. 5.Belligerence.

27 Divorce, continued Although the rate of divorce is declining (down to 40-45%), it is still high enough to cause concern. Most divorces occur during the first decade of marriage (see Figure 10.7), usually due to –Communication difficulties. –Infidelity. –Jealousy. –Growing apart. –Foolish spending behavior. –Substance abuse.

28 Figure 10.7 Divorce rate as a function of years married. This graph shows the distribution of divorces in relation to how long couples have been married. As you can see, the vast majority of divorces occur in the early years, with divorce rates peaking between the fifth and tenth years of marriage. (Data from National Center for Heath Statistics)

29 Divorce, continued Deciding on a divorce The decision to divorce is a complex one that is usually the result of a long series of smaller events that unfold over a long period of time. Adjusting to divorce Divorce is more difficult and disruptive to women than to men, especially if there are children. –Custodial mothers incomes drop by 36%. Fathers incomes increase by 28%.

30 Divorce, continued Adjusting to a divorce, continued Preoccupation with an ex-spouse is also associated with poorer adjustment. Factors associated with favorable adjustment after a divorce include –Having higher income. –Getting remarried. –Having more positive attitudes about divorce. –Being the partner who initiated the divorce.

31 Divorce, continued Effects of divorce on children After a divorce, many children exhibit –Depression and/or anxiety. –Nightmares, dependency. –Aggression, withdrawal, or distractibility. –Lowered academic performance. –Reduced physical health. –Precocious sexual behavior. –Substance abuse.

32 Divorce, continued Effects of divorce on children, continued However, it should be noted that –Divorce can have highly varied effects on children that depend on a complex array of factors. –Finally, sometimes divorce can actually have positive effects on children IF it reduces or removes conflict that was present in their married parents.

33 Divorce, continued Remarriage Approximately three-fourths of divorced people eventually remarry. However, divorce rates are higher for second, than for first, marriages. In addition, remarriage can also be difficult for children and stepparent-stepchild relations tend to be more negative and distant than parent- child relations in first marriages (see Figure 10.9).

34 Figure 10.9 Childrens adjustment in four types of families. Acock and Demo (1994) assessed childrens adjustment in four types of family structures: first marriages, divorced single-parent homes, stepfamilies, and families in which the mother never married. The comparisons of 2,457 families did turn up some statistically significant differences, as childrens overall well-being was highest in intact first marriages. However, as you can see, the differences were rather small, and the authors concluded that family structure has a modest effect on childrens well-being.

35 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Gay relationships The term gay refers to homosexual men and women who seek committed emotional-sexual relationships with members of the same gender. 40-60% of gay males and 45-80% of gay females are in committed relationships. About half of male couples have open sexual relationships, however.

36 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Gay relationships, continued Attitudes toward gay couples –In a 2008 Gallup poll, Americans were equally divided over the morality of homosexual partnerships (see Figure 10.10). –Homophobia is a type of prejudice and discrimination against homosexuals. It is associated with employment and housing discrimination, physical abuse, and hate crimes.

37 Figure 10.10 Attitudes toward homosexual partnerships. In a 2008 Gallup poll, individuals were asked if they felt certain issues were morally right or morally wrong. As you can see, Americans were equally divided over the morality of homosexual relations (Saad, 2008).

38 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Gay relationships, continued Comparisons to heterosexual couples –Gay couples do exist in a different social context and are subject to more prejudice and discrimination. –They also do not often enjoy the same legal status and rights as married heterosexual couples.

39 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Gay relationships, continued However, gay relationships do have Similar levels of love and commitment. Similar overall levels of satisfaction. Similar levels of sexual satisfaction. The same relationship goals. Similar predictors of success. Similar sources of conflict and patterns of conflict resolution.

40 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Gay relationships, continued Gay parenting –Gays and lesbians are thought of more as individuals, than as members of families. In fact, gays and lesbians are very involved with their families. Overall adjustment of children of gay parents is similar to children of heterosexual parents, and they are no more likely to become gay than are children of heterosexual parents.

41 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Remaining single Many factors have contributed to the growth of the single population, including –Increased age at which people marry. –Increased rate of divorce. Although singles are either stereotyped as bitter and unhappy or as bar-hopping socialites, there is little support for either.

42 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Remaining single, continued –Compared to married people, singles do exhibit slightly worse mental and physical health and rate themselves as less happy. –However, the difference is modest and applies more to men than to women.

43 Alternative Relationship Lifestyles, continued Cohabitation – living together in a sexually intimate relationship outside of marriage. –There has been a large increase in the number of couples who cohabitate (see Figure 10.13). –Many couples use cohabitation as a trial marriage, hoping to ensure success. –However, cohabitation is actually associated with increases in marital discord, not success.

44 Figure 10.13 Cohabitation in the United States. The number of unmarried couples living together has been increasing rapidly since 1970 (based on U.S. Census data). This increase shows no signs of leveling off.

45 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Intimate partner violence – is aggression toward those who are in close relationship to the aggressor. It can take many forms, including –Psychological abuse. –Physical abuse. –Sexual abuse. Two common types are partner abuse and date rape.

46 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Partner abuse often includes these forms of battering: –Physical abuse (e.g., kicking or choking). –Emotional abuse (e.g., humiliation, control, withholding money). –Sexual abuse (e.g., using sex to control, manipulate, or demean the other).

47 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Partner Abuse, continued Incidence and consequences –25% of women and 7% of men have been physically assaulted by an intimate partner. –Women are victims in 85% of nonfatal crimes, and are victims in 75% of murders committed by spouses. –Victims also suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder and are vulnerable to suicide. –Children who witness violence are at risk for anxiety and depression.

48 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Partner abuse, continued Characteristics of batterers –Risk factors associated with domestic violence include Unemployment. Drinking and drug problems. Tendency to anger easily. Attitudes that condone aggression. High stress. Males exposed to violence as children.

49 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Partner abuse, continued Why do women stay? –Fear of economic hardship. –They have nowhere else to live. –They feel guilt and shame and do not want to face family and friends. –They fear that leaving will cause more severe abuse or murder (statistics support this fear).

50 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Date rape - refers to forced and unwanted intercourse in the context of dating. –It can occur on first dates, after many dates, or even between engaged couples. –Force used is typically verbal or physical coercion; may involve a weapon.

51 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Date rape, continued Incidence and consequences –13% to 30% of women may be victimized at some point in their lives. –Most victims are raped by someone they know (see Figure 10.15). –Rape by someone you have trusted is particularly traumatic. –Consequences include depression, posttraumatic stress, and risk for suicide.

52 Figure 10.15 Rape victim-offender relationships. Based on a national survey of 3,187 college women, Mary Koss and her colleagues (1988) identified a sample of 468 women who indicated that they had been a victim of rape and who provided information on the relationship to the offender. Contrary to the prevailing stereotype, only a small minority (11%) had been raped by a stranger. As you can see, over half of rapes occur in the context of dating relationships. (Data based on Koss et al., 1988)

53 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Date rape, continued Contributing factors –Alcohol & drugs (especially date rape drugs). –Gender differences in sexual standards. –Miscommunication about whether the woman consents to sex. –Males who are impulsive, low in empathy, hostile toward women, heavy alcohol users, endorse stereotypes about male dominance, and have had more sex partners than age- mates.

54 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Contributing factors, continued –Men are more likely to be offenders if They are impulsive, low in empathy, and hostile toward women. They are heavy drinkers. They endorse traditional stereotypes about male dominance. They have had more consensual sex partners than their age-mates. They have poor anger management skills.

55 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Contributing factors, continued Situational factors can increase likelihood of date rape. It is more likely if –The man knows the woman. –They are in a more isolated setting. –They have had more consensual sexual activity. –The man has misperceived the womans interest in sex in the past.

56 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Reducing the incidence of date rape 1.Recognize data rape as an act of sexual aggression. 2.Become familiar with the characteristics of men who are likely to engage in date rape (see Figure 10.16). 3.Beware of excessive alcohol and drug use, which may lower your inhibitions.

57 Figure 10.16 Date rapists: warning signs. According to Rozee, Bateman, and Gilmore (1991), four factors appear to distinguish date rapists: feelings of sexual entitlement, a penchant for exerting power and control, high hostility and anger, and acceptance of interpersonal violence. The presence of more than one of these characteristics is an important warning sign. When sexual entitlement is coupled with any other factor, special heed should be taken.

58 Application: Intimate Partner Violence, continued Reducing date rape, continued 4.When dating someone new, only go to public places and carry enough money to get home on your own. 5.Communicate feelings and expectations about sex. 6.Be prepared to act aggressively if assertive refusals do not work.


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