Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Kevin Geoffroy


The purpose of this study was to explore the relevance of both intrapsychic and family systems variables for the early marital adjustment of 71 couples in their twenties at the time of marriage, who were married in two central Virginia localities. The intrapsychic variables included subjects' marital locus of control and both subjects' and subjects' spouses' levels of narcissism. The family systems variables included six factors which have been found to be correlated with early marital adjustment. Three of these six factors were: (1) whether the couple married within a year of a significant loss; (2) whether either spouse reported less than a good relationship with his/her parents at the present time; and (3) whether either spouse reported that his/her childhood was less than happy. These nine variables were used in relation to four marital outcome instruments measuring overall marital satisfaction and quality.;Three out of six hypotheses received some degree of support. First, no pattern was found between spouses' levels of narcissism in terms of couple combinations for that variable. Second, there was a moderate relationship between external locus of control and marital difficulties as measured by the four outcome measures. and last, the final hypothesis called for a multiple regression analysis, including subjects' marital locus of control, both subjects' and subjects' spouses' narcissism scores, and the six family systems variables as the predictor variables, and the four marital outcome measures as the dependent variables. It was found that marital locus of control was the strongest predictor variable, and when combined with significant loss, childhood unhappiness, current relationship with parents, and subjects/subjects' spouses' narcissism, yielded moderately strong correlations with the outcome measures.;As such, these findings gave support to the object relations family systems perspective of James Framo, which theoretically framed this study. Further study was recommended to evaluate the causal relationship between marital locus of control and marital outcome, and to explore the possible impact of higher levels of narcissism upon marital adjustment over time, as the expected relationship between high levels of narcissism and impaired marital quality was not found in this study.



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