Date of Conferral







Chet Lesniak


Baal teshuvas are traditionally observant Orthodox Jewish individuals who were previously not religiously observant and chose to become observant at a later juncture in their lives. This population is at risk of psychosocial dysfunction, particularly in the area of marriage, but little or no research has been conducted with this population. The purpose of this study was to study how 1 factor, the laws of family purity, an ancient set of Jewish laws governing sexual behavior between husbands and wives, may have an effect on marital satisfaction among baal teshuvas. Areas of marital satisfaction were measured by the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale, Triangular Love Scale, and New Sexual Satisfaction Survey. Relational-cultural theory and relational spirituality were used to describe how spirituality affects individual well-being and the quality of one's relationships with others. A sample of 44 male and 59 female baal teshuvas completed the surveys. MANOVAs and 2-factor ANOVAs were conducted to compare the effects of gender and level of observance of family purity laws on marital satisfaction survey results. Results indicated a significant difference only by gender on the sexual satisfaction measure, although it is not known how much of a difference there was between the genders. This study reinforces indications from past research that studying sexual satisfaction in marriages is an increasingly important area of study and clinical practice. This study may lead to positive social change by identifying methods to improve marital satisfaction in the newly religious population. In addition, the results may provide further evidence supporting the already known positive psychological benefits of the laws of family purity.