Date of Award

12-1983

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Priscilla N. White

Committee Members

Gary W. Peterson, Roger Swagler, William A. Poppen

Abstract

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between never-married men and women on a number of social-psychological variables. Specific attention was also given to a select group of sociodemographic variables. A secondary purpose was to examine the relationship between life satisfaction as a criterion variable and the other social-psychological variables as predictor variables.

The sample consisted of 30 never-married men and 30 never-married women, between the ages of 27-46. The average age of both the men and women was 31. Individuals had to be caucasian and currently "not cohabiting, not emotionally, sexually, or financially dependent on one person" (Adams, 1976, p. 30). Subjects were located through singles groups within Knox County, Tennessee and through a snowballing technique.

Subjects completed three psychological questionnaires: (a) Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965), (b) UCLA Loneliness Scale (Russell et al., 1978), and (c) Life Satisfaction Scale (Campbell, 1976). Sociodemographic information was collected on the Singles Inventory (Cockrum, 1983). Following the written questionnaires, participants were interviewed about their support systems. The Interview Schedule for Social Interaction (Henderson et al., 1981) provided information on the availability and adequacy of the individual's social support system.

Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) followed by univariate comparisons on the dependent variables were done in three separate analyses. The MANOVA'S and univariate comparisons analyzed the differences between the never-married men and women in terms of sociodemographic, psychological, and social support characteristics. There were no differences in the sociodemographic and psychological characteristics between the never-married men and women. There was no main effect difference between the two groups on social support characteristics. However, two social support univariate analysis were significant: (a) never-married women had more attachment relationships available to them than did the men, and (b) the never-married men reported finding it less difficult to function without attachment relationships than did women.

Two regression models were tested to determine what factors were predictive of the life satisfaction of the never-married men and the never-married women. A two-variable model consisting of self-esteem and the availability of social integration was predictive of 25% of the variance in never-married men's life satisfaction. The availability of attachments and emotional loneliness were the two predictor variables in the regression model for the never-married women's life satisfaction. This two-variable model accounted for 45% of the variance in the life satisfaction of the women in this study.

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