An ecological approach to explaining women's adjustment in the initial stage of marriage

Liat Kulik, Hagit Havusha-Morgenstern

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3 Scopus citations


In this study, we focused on marital adjustment among a sample of 101 Israeli women who had been married up to 3 years and did not have children. We examined the contribution of variables from three ecological systems to marital adjustment: the ontogenic system (attachment dimensions, and women's perceptions of differentiation in the family of origin); the microsystem (strategies for resolving marital conflicts); and the exosystem (characteristics of the husband's employment). The findings revealed that the higher the women's levels in the two dimensions of attachment, the lower their levels of marital adjustment. By contrast, the more the women used conflict resolution strategies of integration, concession, and compromise, the higher their levels of marital adjustment. Conflict resolution strategies mediated the effects of attachment avoidance and family differentiation on marital adjustment. To conclude, we offer practical recommendations for identifying couples at risk in the first stage of marital life, and for professional interventions to improve marital adjustment at that stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-208
Number of pages17
JournalContemporary Family Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Attachment dimensions
  • Conflict resolution styles
  • Ecological approach
  • Marital adjustment


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