The impact of marital status and quality on family functioning in maternal chronic illness

Bernice C. Yates, Lillian S. Bensley, Bernadette Lalonde, Frances Marcus Lewis, Nancy Fugate Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Married individuals tend to enjoy greater health and well-being than nonmarried. However, investigators disagree about whether this is related to the quality of the marriage or to participation in the socially accepted role of marriage. In the present study, we examined the roles of marital quality and marital status as predictors of the family's adjustment processes in the context of maternal chronic illness. We found that the family functioning of single women and unhappily married women was similar and that happily married women enjoyed higher levels of family functioning and family coping. Unhappily married women reported more illness demands, particularly on their time and energy, than did happily married or single women. We suggest it is the quality of the marital interaction, and not the role benefits of marriage, that facilitates family adjustment under conditions of maternal chronic illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-449
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Care for Women International
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)

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