Title page for ETD etd-0416102-172102

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Scott, Andrea Towers
Author's Email Address ascott5@lsu.edu
URN etd-0416102-172102
Title Communication Characterizing Successful Long Distance Marriages
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Speech Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Loretta L. Pecchioni Committee Chair
Harold Mixon Committee Member
Renee Edwards Committee Member
Sarah Pierce Committee Member
Anne Coldiron Dean's Representative
  • dialectics
  • long distance marriages
  • successful marriages
  • communication
  • commuter marriage
Date of Defense 2002-03-21
Availability unrestricted
The current study seeks to explore the communication in successful career-induced long distance marriages. Elements examined are relational dialectics, relationship satisfaction, communication satisfaction, feelings of (mis)understanding, couple types, relationship sustenance, imagined interactions, and social support. The current study has three primary contributions: 1) the quantitative exploration of a communication in a growing marital framework, 2) the successful quantification of dialectics, and 3) the overall support for studying long distance marriages.

The current study reports data collected from 92 individuals in non-military career-induced long distance marriages. All participants completed an 18-page questionnaire consisting of quantitative measures for the variables listed above, followed by four open-ended questions designed to elicit respondentsí feelings about the living-apart experience.

Findings reflect four primary variables: relationship sustenance, feelings of understanding/misunderstanding, communication satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction. Shared tasks as a relationship sustenance strategy successfully predicted feelings of connection, whereas the shared networks sustenance strategy successfully predicted feelings of inclusion and revelation.

Feelings of understanding/misunderstanding were significantly related to relationship satisfaction. Seclusion and autonomy-connection were also significantly related to relationship satisfaction, when also considering the frequency of visits during the separation.

Communication satisfaction was significantly related to feelings of understanding/misunderstanding, while also significantly related to openness and closedness. Feelings of understanding/misunderstanding were significantly related to openness, closedness, and pre-separation marital length. In addition, relationship sustenance was successfully predicted by feelings of understanding/misunderstanding.

These results indicate success of the dialectic measurement beyond reliability. These findings indicate that dialectics do play a role in the relationship satisfaction, communication satisfaction, and feelings of understanding of long distance married couples. Furthermore, the feelings of understanding/misunderstanding scale performed well both as a predictor and outcome variable, indicating a potentially important communication-related variable at work in long distance marriages. Finally, sustenance strategies at work in long distance marriages are significantly related to dialectics and feelings of understanding/misunderstanding. These findings offer a more complete and potentially predictive view of long distance marriages than was previously available.

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