Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2017


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

David L. Delmonico

Committee Member

Louis J. Gregoire

Committee Member

Matt Bundick


Marital satisfaction, relational satisfaction, couples, LGBT couples, Modern day couples


This mixed-methods study is the first of its kind to collect large-scale qualitative and quantitative data from diverse couples. The purpose of the research was to determine what factors (Internal, Relational, or External) most impact relational satisfaction in modern-day couples. Four hundred fifty three participants that represented diverse sexual orientation, age, social economic status, and relational commitments were asked to answer a survey that contained Likert-like scales and open-ended questions to identify what factors most influence their relational satisfaction. The answers were coded and grouped into internal, relational, and external factors. Rich descriptions of the qualitative results are included. The qualitative data were also transposed into numerical representations to identify statistical differences and correlations between groups. The researcher identified a few significant and potentially significant demographic factors that merit further investigation including: gender, sexual orientation, parental status, commitment level, relationship status, and length of relationship. The qualitative factors found to significantly or practically significantly (small but notable effect sizes) impact relational satisfaction include: Infidelity, Religion/Morals, Parenting, Commitment/Hard Work, Communication, Domestic, Compatibility, Work/Time, Emotional Support, Finances, Extended Family, Friends, Stress/Trials, Addictions/Recovery, Social/Community Support, and Health/Aging. A new framework for understanding the key ingredients of relational satisfaction is proposed. These ingredients include: Trust, Safety, Stability/Security, Connection/Support, and the degree to which the couples perceived their expectations were being met in these areas. Application of Attachment Theory helped explain some of the findings. Implications for assessment of relational satisfaction and future research are discussed.



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