Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Nathan D. Wood


To explore relational processes of couple’s satisfaction this study drew on the relational spirituality framework (Mahoney, 2010) in order to test a relational religiosity model to evaluate the effects of public, private, ideological, intellectual, and experiential religiosity that were mediated by relational virtues of commitment, sacrifice, forgiveness, and sanctification and relational equality on couple’s satisfaction in two cultures. Data for this component used convenience samples of English-speaking respondents (hereafter American sample; n = 1,529) and Russian-speaking respondents (hereafter Russian sample; n = 529). Results provided evidence to partially support relational religiosity model; specifically commitment, while a statistically significant intervening element, worked alongside other relational virtues such as (a) sanctification, as hypothesized, to positively mediate the indirect effect of ideological religiosity on couple’s satisfaction for the American men, (β = .17, 95% BCa CI [.11, .24], p < .001); (b) sanctification, as hypothesized, to positively mediate the indirect effect of experiential religiosity for the Russian men (β = .39, 95% BCa CI [.12, .65], p = .002); and (c) sacrifice and forgiveness, contrary to the hypotheses, to negatively mediate the indirect (β = -.20, 95% BCa CI [-.35, -.06], p = .005) and total (β = -.27, 95% BCa CI [-.43, -.12], p = .001) effects of ideological religiosity on couple’s satisfaction among Russian women.

The second approach to this topic followed the family systems perspective, to examine the effect of religiosity on respondents’ own and their partners’ satisfaction with the relationship via the actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) (Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006). This dyadic approach used samples of 435 American couples (n = 870) and 129 Russian couples (n = 258). The results provided evidence to support an actor effect of husbands’ religiosity on their own couple’s satisfaction for the American (t = 2.00, p = .046, β = .15, 95% CI [.01, .29]) and Russian (t = 3.65, p < .001, β = .45, 95% CI [.21, .70]) husbands. Moreover, APIM testing provided sufficient evidence to support a positive partner effect in that husband’s religiosity predicted their wives’ satisfaction with the relationship in the American (t = 2.06, p = .041, β = .17, 95% CI [.01, .33]) and Russian (t = 2.77, p = .006, β = .37, 95% CI [.11, .64]) couples. The parallels between the cultures strongly resembled existing cross-cultural dyadic scholarship providing compelling evidence to support cultural similarities rather than differences and suggesting that cross-cultural relational dissimilarities might not exist in the ways religiosity is linked to couple’s satisfaction; however, the differences between male and female respondents in each culture might be worth studying further. Additionally, this dissertation’s results and scholarship mentioned above reveal that religiosity and couple’s satisfaction may be indifferent to cultural variations suggesting these phenomena may be universal rather than culture-specific. Outcomes of this dissertation may benefit researchers, educators, policy makers, and practitioners who are interested in relationship virtues and religiosity's effect on couple’s satisfaction, which is known to provide a positive connection to the psychological, social, physical, and spiritual well-being of couples.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)