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This study examined the influence of personality dimensions and spousal age
difference on marital adjustment of married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of
institutions. Two hundred and six (206) married staff of Godfrey Okoye group
of institutions (the University, the Institute of Ecumenical Education, the
Secondary School, and the Primary School) formed the participants of the
study. The study employed simple random sampling technique (simple
balloting) to select participants to this study and the Big Five Personality
Inventory and the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale were used to collect data
for the study. Correlation result indicated that all the five personality
dimensions extraversion (r = -.13, p <.05), agreeableness (r = -.36, p <.001),
conscientiousness (r = -.26, p <.001), neuroticism (r = .24, p <.001) and
openness to experience (r = -.33, p <.001) were significantly related to marital
adjustment. Among these five dimensions of personality, only agreeableness (β
= -.244, p <.01) and openness to experience (β = -.201, p <.05) made
statistically significant negative contribution in predicting marital adjustment,
while the other three dimensions (extraversion, conscientiousness and
neuroticism) did not make statistically significant contributions in predicting
marital adjustment. Recommendations were made as well as suggestions for
further studies.
Title page 2
Approval 3
Dedication 4
Acknowledgement 5
Abstract 6
Table of Contents 7
List of Tables 9
Chapter One
Introduction 10
Statement of Problem 13
Purpose of the Study 14
Operational Definitions of Terms 15
Chapter Two: Literature Review
Theoretical Review 17
Expectancy Violation Theory 17
Dynamic Goal Theory of Marital Satisfaction 19
Social Learning Theory 20
Social Exchange Theory 21
Behavioral Theory 22
Identity Theory 23
Intra-Personality Approach 24
The Big Five Personality Model 25
Empirical Review 27
Summary of Literature Review 30
Research Hypotheses 33
Chapter Three: Method
Participants 34
Instruments 34
Procedure 36
Design/Statistics 36
Chapter Four
Result 37
Summary of Finding 39
Chapter Five
Discussion 40
Implications of Findings 41
Limitations of Study 42
Suggestions for Further Study 42
Summary and Conclusion 42
References 44
Appendix A: Big Five Personality Inventory 51
Appendix B: Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS) 52
Appendix C: SPSS Result Output 53
Table 1: Means, standard deviations, and correlations among the study
variables 37
Table 2: Hierarchical multiple regression predicting marital adjustment by
gender, which spouse is older, spousal age difference and
personality 38
Marriage which brings together two typically different individuals- different in
so many ways, in choices and preferences, opinions and stances, background
and orientations, perceptions and some of the times in cultural and religious
background- require of parties to properly handle their similarities and
differences in order to live happily and be satisfied with the marriage and with
each other. According to Kumari (2017), marriage is an institution whereby
men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependency for
the purpose of founding and maintaining a family. Marriage, indeed is an
important factor of our family system. This is based upon the need for being and
living together and the emotional security, this provides, upon the needs for
sexual expression and upon the desire for the begetting of off spring and an
ideal union is one that fulfils most effectively these sexual requirements
(Kumari, 2017). People marry for many reasons, like; love, happiness,
companionship and the desire to have children, physical attraction or desire to
escape from an unhappy situation (Bernard, 1984).
Couples who are able to understand themselves and positively cope with their
uniqueness as well as their similar qualities are said to have positive marital
adjustment and vice versa. Every married person and couple anticipates
satisfaction- with spouse and the marriage- and feelings of happiness in the
marriage as it progresses. These feelings of happiness, satisfaction with
marriage and spouse are the components of a well-adjusted married life.
Marital adjustment has been given different definitions. Thomas (1977) and
Sinha and Mukerjee (1990) viewed it as a state of living and defined it as “the
state in which there is an overall feeling between husband and wife, of
happiness and satisfaction with their marriage and with each other”; while
Hashmi, Khurshid, and Hassan, (2007) saw it as a condition and defined it as
the condition in which there is usually a feeling of pleasure and contentment in
husband and wife and with each other. Nugent (2013) saw it as a process in
which partners in a marriage adapt and change to their new roles
complementing each other, acting as a team opposed to two separate units.
These definitions point out that a well-adjusted married life is that in which
there is satisfaction and feelings of wellness among partners with the marriage
and the spouse. With this, marital adjustment can be seen as the state in which
couples understand and cope with their spouse’s unique as well as similar
qualities and the challenges of married life in order to bring about feelings of
wellness between them and to have a relatively satisfactory marriage.
According to Lazarus (1983), there are six areas of marital adjustment such as,
religion, social life, mutual friends, in-laws, money and sex. A study conducted
by (Margolin, 1980) found that there are ten areas of marital adjustment namely,
values, couple growth, communication, conflict resolution, affection, roles,
cooperation, sex, money and parenthood. Marital adjustment therefore calls for
experiencing, satisfactory relationship between spouse characterized by mutual
concern, care, understanding and acceptance (Kumari, 2017).
Marital distress has been associated with a host of psychological difficulties,
particularly depression (Beach, Whisman & O’Leary, 1994). The ultimate
measurement of successful marriage is the degree of adjustment achieved by the
individuals in their marriage roles and interaction with one another. Whether or
not a marriage is successful is determined by the interaction between the two
partners over the time span of their marriage (Kumari, 2017).
Bouchard, Lussier and sabourin (1999) made a good contribution to the
understanding of the relationship between personality and marital adjustment by
using the five factors model of personality. Many researchers believe this model
is a comprehensive framework for organizing personality traits (Borkenau &
Ostendrof, 1990; Digaman, 1990; Mc Crae 1991; Montag & Levine 1994). The
five factor model postulates that the normal personality is multidimensional,
composed of five dimensions: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness,
Agreeableness and conscientiousness (Kumari, 2017).
Spousal age difference is the age gap between couple. One of the features in the
marriage studies is that individuals match in assorted ways on age and that the
most common pairing is one in which the husband is a few years older than the
wife (Presser, 1975; Glick & Lin, 1986). While this pattern of matching on age
is well known, the underlying mechanism that generates this sorting is not well
understood. For example, some studies suggest that marital gains are largest in
older husband-younger wife pairs (Bergstrom & Bagnoli, 1993) while others
find that marital gains are largest for similarly-aged couples (Choo & Siow,
2006). A number of theoretical models assume that men (and in some models,
women) prefer younger spouses for their “fitness” or fecundity (Siow, 1998;
Coles & Francesconi, 2011; Diaz-Gimenez & Giolito, 2013), while analysis
using online and speed dating data suggest that both men and women instead
prefer similarly-aged partners (Belot & Francesconi, 2013, Hitsch, Hortascu &
Ariely, 2010).
The drive of the present study is to examine the effect of the five dimensions of
personality namely, Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and
conscientiousness and spousal age difference on marital adjustment among staff
of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions.
The rate of dissatisfaction and maladjustment in today’s marriages is alarming
leading to dissolutions of marriages, separation and other counter-togetherness
outcomes. This makes investigating the dimensions of personality that
predispose married men and women to adjust to their marriage an important fit.
Studies have shown that personality dimension such as Neuroticism and
Extraversion have relationship with marital adjustment (Bouchard et al, 1999;
Kosek, 1996; Lester et al, 1989; Russell & Wells, 1994). There is however need
to find out the contribution of all the five dimensions of personality –
Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness –
on marital adjustment.
People – men and women alike, when making choice of partner consider their
age differences. Older men tend to either chose same/closely aged women or
chose younger or even much younger (than them) aged women. Some even do
not mind older (than them) women. Women chose most often, older men,
same/closely aged and rarely younger (than them) men. This choice is usually
accompanied with certain feelings. Therefore, it will be important to look into
the ability of spousal age difference (how many years old one spouse is older
than the other) in predicting marital adjustment and equally see how it works
together with personality dimensions to predict marital adjustment.
Specifically, the problem of this study are as follow:
1. Will the five dimensions of personality predict marital adjustment?
2. Will spousal age difference predict marital adjustment?
Purpose of the Study
This study seeks to find out whether the five dimensions of personality and
spousal age difference can be used to predict marital adjustment among married
staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu.
Specifically, this study will seek to:
i. Determine the influence of Neuroticism on marital adjustment among
married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu
ii. Determine the influence of Extraversion on marital adjustment among
married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu
i. Determine the influence of Openness on marital adjustment among
married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu
ii. Determine the influence of Agreeableness on marital adjustment
among married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu
iii. Determine the influence of Conscientiousness on marital adjustment
among married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu
iv. Determine the influence of spousal age difference on marital
adjustment among married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of
institutions, Enugu
Marital adjustment
This is the state in which there is usually a feeling of pleasure and contentment
in husband and wife with each other and with their marriage measured using the
14-item Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS) by Busby, Christensen,
Crane, & Larson (1995).
This is the set of habitual behaviours, cognition and emotional patterns that
characterize an individual and differs him/her from others as measured by a 44-
item big five factor scale regarded as the NEO FFI by Costa and McCrae
Spousal age difference
This is defined as the number of years with which one spouse is older than the
other as indicated by the participants


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