Title

Perceived parental acceptance-rejection, parental control, and marital satisfaction in a rural, biracial Southern community

Date of Completion

January 1999

Keywords

Anthropology, Cultural|Psychology, Social|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study expands on the existing body of parental-acceptance-rejection theory (PARTheory) research by examining the relationship between parental acceptance-rejection, parental control, children's psychological adjustment, and marital satisfaction. Specifically, this research seeks to answer four questions: (1) What is the relationship between the degree of marital satisfaction adults experience and their perceptions of parental acceptance-rejection and control from their families of origin? (2) What is the relationship between the degree of marital satisfaction individuals, experience and their children's perceptions of acceptance-rejection and parental control? (3) What is the relationship between the degree of marital satisfaction adults experience and their children's psychological adjustment? (4) Does gender, race, or social class account for any of the differences in the questions asked above? ^ The research site for this research is McIntosh County, Georgia. McIntosh County is an economically poor, rural county with a population of approximately 9,000 people, with about half Black and half White. The sample of 55 intact families that participated in this study was asked to complete the Adult Parental Acceptance-Rejection/Control Questionnaire (mother version) and the Marital Satisfaction Scale. Descriptive profiles of major categories of variables were run, as well as a series of t-tests and anovas to determine the relationship between the variables. Regarding spouses' experiences in their families of origin, both husbands and wives perceived more acceptance than rejection from their primary caretakers, and both grew up in homes with similar levels of parental control. Both husbands and wives perceived their marriages to be fairly satisfying. No significant relationship was found for parents' level of marital satisfaction and their children's perceptions of acceptance-rejection or psychological adjustment. There was, however, a significant tendency for mothers' but not fathers' marital satisfaction to be associated with their children's perceptions of both paternal and maternal control. Significant race differences were found for acceptance-rejection and control. The significance of the study and its limitations are discussed. ^