Commitment communication and length of marriage: Scratching the seven-year itch

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Booth, Lisa M.

Booth, Lisa M.(2009). Commitment Communication and Length of Marriage: Scratching the Seven-Year Itch . In Proceedings: 5th Annual Symposium: Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 16-17


Previous research indicates that marriage has been shown to be a relationship based in serious investment, which requires maintenance behaviors in order to remain satisfying. With this in mind I wanted to determine why the seven-year itch might exist. In the spring of 2008 1 sampled 103 married couples from Wichita, KS and the surrounding area. They were selected through network sampling and asked to complete a survey regarding their marriage. The survey included the self/partner behavioral indicators of commitment scale and Rusbult's commitment scale, which measured behavioral indicators and marriage satisfaction. I looked specifically at the perceived level of tangible reminders offered, the perceived level of creating a relationship together, the perceived integrity of the marriage and the overall satisfaction in the marriage. I hypothesized that as past research has shown, couples in the early years of marriage (0 to 6) will have high levels of behavioral indicators of commitment, followed by a drop in amount during the 7 to 23 year period, and a rise at the 24+ year mark. The results of the survey indicated that my hypothesis was correct. Future research might determine if this curvilinear pattern (being low during mid level marriages) could account for divorce during these years.

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Paper presented to the 5th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex, Wichita State University, May 1, 2009.
Research completed at the Elliott School of Communication, Fairmont College of Liberal Arts and Sciences