Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Debora Baldwin

Committee Members

Warren Jones, Derek Hopko, Priscilla Blanton


The current study examined the Spousal Model of Stress in a sample of healthy, married controls (n=52) and a sample of persons with multiple sclerosis and their spousal caregivers (n=51). The Spousal Model of Stress was created by joining together Ruben Hill’s (1958) ABCX Model of Stress and Karney & Bradbury’s (1995) Vulnerability- Stress-Adaptation Model of Marriage. Factors in the Spousal Model include stress, resources/vulnerabilities, perceptions/adaptive processes, and outcomes (marital satisfaction, marital quality, life satisfaction, and depression). The new model revealed that spousal attributions were an important factor in predicting marital quality and marital satisfaction in a group of healthy spouses. Life satisfaction and depression in this group was predicted by amount of perceived stress. The Model also revealed that social support was an important factor in predicting marital quality, marital satisfaction, and life satisfaction in a group of persons with MS and their spousal caregivers. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

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