ERIC Number: ED219826
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug-26
The Couple Versus the Spouse as the Unit of Analysis in Marital Research. Revised.
Honeycutt, James M.; Norton, Robert W.
Traditionally the unit of analysis in marital research has been the individual spouse. More recently the marital relationship has often been defined as a process of interaction and dynamic exchanges such that spouses have autonomous needs as well as corporate needs for interdependence. Thus modern systems theory heightens the importance of both individuals. A structural analysis of the marital dyad consists of two types in which the aim is to determine whether relationships found at the group level are the same or different from relationships within separate group components. The problem in the analysis is the treatment of the couple's score so that the couple's score is not merely a high/low spouse score in which sex effects are unaccounted for. Scores may te summed for the husband and wife and divided by two (summation score), or scores may be calculated to take into account the differences between each spouse's individual scores (dispersion scores). Using both these scores as the unit of analysis in a study of marital happiness and communicator images among 40 married couples, it is evident that the dispersion score can reveal an effect for the degree of a couple's agreement on marital happiness and not the level of happiness. In short, a reliance solely on individual or couples' analyses excluded some information. Therefore, the reporting of individual and couples' scores when a couple's analysis is used is often needed in order to give a full picture of the couple's agreement on the criterion variable and their rank on the criterion. However, in some situations depending on the exact research question, a summation score or dispersion score may solely be used. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Boston, MA, May 2-5, 1982).