I.) Fundamental Issues and Historical Applications
A. Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication. 1. Issue number 6. What is the most appropriate level of analysis for psychology? Position A: Molecular. Despite significant theories giving a relationship to premarital cohabitation and the likelihood of divorce, we have yet to definitively answer the underlying question of why the relationship exists. This study focuses not on the theories themselves, but on a function of marital life. Marital communication is a large part of marital development. If the breakdown of communication is significantly lower for couples that premaritally cohabitated this could correlate a retarded level in marital development. 2. The authors in this study hold a perspective of structuralism. By singling out the marital issue of communication we can attempt to develop a relationship between communication and marital dysfunction as a whole. By looking at the component parts of a dysfunctional marriage we can conclude that low levels of communication will result in a higher level of marital dysfunction. By establishing this correlation we can then compare and develop conclusions between the levels of communication success in couples who engaged in premarital cohabitation as opposed to couples who did not. B. Come Live With me.
1. Issue number 8. What is the best psychological conception of organisms? Position B: Reactivity. It is popularly stated that premarital cohabitation weakens the “fundamental social institution” of marriage, however cohabitation is inconsistent and most studies use misleading data from an earlier genre where premarital cohabitation was outside of society’s normal expectation. By associating beliefs together and generalizing social norms premarital cohabitation has been linked with divorce when in fact divorce may have been inevitable regardless of prior marital living arrangements. 2. The author of this article holds a functionalist perspective. While examining several studies we can debate the validity of the data based on the time frame the subjects married, risk factors, and personality tendencies. Without looking at all factors associated with premarital cohabitation and correlating a result of divorce we are setting strict limitations upon the studies. In many studies the usual order of explanation has been reversed by explaining things in terms of what happens afterward and not what happened before. C. Literature update: a critical review
1. Issue number 4. On what temporal dimension is behavior most lawful? Position A: Historical. By looking into the past we can distinguish between negative and positive characteristic beliefs. Since premarital cohabitation was socially frowned upon looking at the preexisting risk factors might make divorce inevitable regardless of cohabitation prior to marriage. Potential risk factors are parental divorce, less education, low income, less religious practice, and acceptance of divorce. 2. Bhugra holds a perspective of structuralism. This study has broken down the component parts of marital beliefs in relation to cohabitation. By looking at a couples values and beliefs we can ultimately postulate their attitudes towards divorce. This not only forms a general separation of the group as a whole, but can also determine if the instability and unhappiness of marriage stems from general dissatisfaction or a result of preexisting risk factors. D. Do couples at High Risk of Relationship Problems Attend Pre-marriage Education? 1. Issue number 6. What is the most appropriate level of analysis for psychology? Position A: Molecular. By distinguishing if relationship risk factors are directly related to premarital education attendance we can analyze if the individual characteristics of the couple are creating a tendency to be aware of the...
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