While studies have highlighted the role of gendered power in relationships, many assumptions have not been quantitatively tested due to a lack of measures for power. This study uses exploratory factor analysis to construct a dyadic assessment of relative power and equality in relationships. This assessment would be useful for research and for clinical work with couples to help raise awareness of the balance of power in their relationship. Equality is defined as a mutual process in which both partners demonstrate that they hold equal value in the relationship, whereas inequality is when there is a relative imbalance of value in the couple. Relative power is a dyadic outcome related to the recognition of one’s value to a relationship, and is therefore important in relationship satisfaction. A review of the literature on how power predicts satisfaction has shown a shift in focus away from monetary resources and decision-making towards examining relationship processes and the connection between gender and power. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop and test a new scale of equality for couples, the Relationship Balance Assessment (RBA). Exploratory factor analysis of individuals and couples identified 12 latent factors underlying relationship equality. While the study looked for significant correlations with their score averages, this study indicated that power is revealed more in the differences between partners’ responses. Contrary to expectations, couples’ differences in the perception of power, and especially the woman’s perspective, were highly correlated with their satisfaction. This is consistent with previous qualitative research that asserted that mutual attunement is a critical link between equality and satisfaction. Furthermore, gender shapes couples’ perceptions, which ultimately affect their level of attunement. For couples in this study, the balance of power was often predicted by gender, gender role orientation and gender ideology—beliefs about how one should perform their socially-defined roles in family. This study will help researchers and therapists who work with distressed couples to have a clearer understanding of the factors in equality and to assess them. It can also serve as a road-map to improving relationship satisfaction.
|Advisor:||Distelberg, Brian J., Knudson-Martin, Carmen|
|Commitee:||Moline, Mary E., Wilson, Colwick|
|School:||Loma Linda University|
|Department:||Marital and Family Therapy|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Counseling Psychology, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Couples, Family science, Marriage, Power, Relationships, Women|
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