Examining marital power through intergenerational lenses



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Texas Tech University


As of yet, no research has utilized family therapy intergenerational theory to investigate marital power by probing into partner's perceptions that reflect their beginnings—family-of-origin. The purpose of this study was to use a family therapy perspective to study marital power. Self-administered surveys were completed by employees (ii=436) of Texas Tech University in order to determine the relationship between key family-of-origin variables and marital interaction styles that reflect power equality/inequality. On the whole, the results revealed support for the hypotheses indicating that individuals who reported power equality in their marriages also reported higher scores on family-of-origin measures than those individuals who reported power inequality. In addition, those individuals with higher scores on the family-of-origin measures reported more cognitive flexibility than individuals with lower scores on the family-of-origin measures. Overall, this study found significant associations between intergenerational dynamics and marital power dynamics. It also examined power in a way that incorporated more "microlevel" communication issues that are more central to women's concerns as opposed to solely utilizing traditional "macrolevel" power measures.