Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Function of Family-of-Origin Experiences and Marital Adjustment among Married Iranian Students of Universiti Putra Malaysia

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Function of Family-of-Origin Experiences and Marital Adjustment among Married Iranian Students of Universiti Putra Malaysia

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between family-of-origin experiences and marital adjustment in a sample of married postgraduate Iranian students in Malaysia. The sample consisted of 220 married students who were randomly recruited to participate in the study through their email addresses. The respondents completed demographic information and two questionnaires including Family-of-Origin Scale (FOS; Hovestadt, et al., 1985) and the Locke-Wallace Marital Adjustment Test (LWMAT; Locke & Wallace, 1959). A correlational survey design was utilized in the present study. Data analysis included frequencies, percentages, mean scores, Pearson's correlation, and multiple regression analysis. The results indicated that Family-of-origin experiences were positively and significantly correlated with marital adjustment. In addition, this study indicated that marital adjustment influences by family-of-origin experiences.

Keywords: family of origin, relationships, marital adjustment, married Iranian

1. Introduction

Undoubtedly, one of the most important decisions for most individuals, if not all, is choosing a marital partner, especially among traditional societies and families. Marriage is defined as a formally-written, verbal, or tradition long-term agreement between a man and a woman for the production of children, food and other commodities in a domestic context (Bailey, 2003).

In a marriage, marital satisfaction refers to the level of satisfaction or happiness derived from the union (Locke & Wallace, 1959). The level of marital satisfaction determines the survival of any marriage and as such there have been studies and investigations on the factors that affect marital satisfaction since the 1990s (Bradbury, Fincham, & Beach, 2000). According to Snyder and Lopez (2005), marital bliss contributes to enhanced well-being and a happy marriage experiences less stress, anxiety or depression. It is therefore understandable why there has been much focus on investigating the key factors that lead to happy marriages.

The process in which an individual or a couple modifies, adopts or changes their behavior pattern and interaction to gain the maximum satisfaction in their relationship is referred to as marital adjustment (Bali, Dhingra, & Baru, 2010). Marital adjustment, which is a developmental process (Martin, 2007) has been investigated extensively in marriage and family relationship research and it is one of the most frequently investigated dependent variables in relationship studies.

According to Martinson (2005), of the various factors that influence the development and behavior of an individual e.g., socio-cultural interactions and environment, work, friends, etc, family-of-origin experiences that we go through with our family have the greatest impact. According to Hovestadt, and colleagues (1985), family-of-origin is the family of an individual's psychological, physical and emotional beginnings. The term experiences in the family-of-origin, refers to person's experiences with parents and/or primary caregivers and especially the relationship with the parents during childhood, as the basis of relationships in adult life (Falcke, Wagner, & Mosmann, 2008).

Kerr (2008) reminds us that while we are physically away from our family, we do not leave them emotionally. From a multigenerational perspective, the legacy of the family of origin appears to be unshakably with us, an emotional baggage that stubbornly stays within us that is exhibited in our adult relationships (Martinson, 2005; Sabatelli & Bartle, 2003). As such, the circumstances of the family-of-origin determine the conjugal adjustment and the psycho-social state of the individual in later life (Asadinik, 2009; Botha, Berg, & Venter, 2009; Falcke, et al., 2008; Luecken, Kraft, & Hagan, 2009; Martinson, 2005; Topham, Larson, & Holman, 2005).

The importance of the family of origin is unavoidable. …

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