Date of Conferral







Benita Stiles-Smith


The purpose of this study was to explore relationship satisfaction among adult, cohabitating heterosexual and homosexual dyads. The United States has the highest rate of divorce among all the industrialized nations. Divorce has been linked to declines in mental and physical health, financial and social instability, unhealthy patterns of over-compensation, and higher levels of separation among the offspring of such couples. Hawaii has the fourth lowest rate of divorce in the country, despite also having the one of the highest rates of interethnic marriage worldwide. Researchers of relationship satisfaction and minority issues have yet to explore the correlates of relationship satisfaction and the veracity of attachment theory, the leading theory addressing couples' interactions, in this subpopulation. This study was grounded in Bowlby's attachment theory. The Dyadic Adjustment Scale was used to measure relationship satisfaction as it interacted with 3 independent variables: each couple's attachment style combination, as measured by the Experiences in Close Relationships scale; place of nativity and rearing; and parental separation status. A factorial analysis of variance indicated statistically significant attachment and parental separation status main effects as well as a statistically significant attachment by parental separation status interaction effect among 160 diverse couples. Place of nativity and rearing did not have a statistically significant impact on relationship satisfaction however. Establishing effective couples' relationship education programs can promote social change by reducing relationship dissolution and enhancing physical, mental, and financial well-being among couples and their offspring.