Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hosie, Thomas W.

Committee Member

Young, John S.

Committee Member

Hermann, Mary

Committee Member

Bailey, Ann

Committee Member

Worthy, Sheri L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Student Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education


This study investigated whether a relationship exists between levels of marital dedication and student-life stress among married undergraduate students. Student-life stress was examined using the Student-Life Stress Inventory (SLI) (Gadzella, 1991). Student-life stress was compared to levels of marital dedication (low, moderate, high) using the Relationship Scale (Stanley & Markman, 1992). Differences in student-life stress were examined between male and female students. In addition, differences in levels of marital dedication were examined between students and spouses. Levels of marital dedication were compared to a national sample of relatively happy and committed couples. Lastly, spouses ranked categories that have had the greatest impact upon them as spouse of students. Ninety married couples (180 participants) at four universities and one community college in the Southeast participated in the study. No statistically significant difference was found on the Student-life Stress Inventory (SLI) between male and female students. In the highly dedicated category, there was a statistically significant difference in levels of marital dedication between students and spouses. A greater proportion of spouses were more highly dedicated than students. No statistically significant difference in overall levels of marital dedication was found between spouses of male and female students. Male students were as equally dedicated to the national sample of males, whereas female students were less dedicated than the national sample of females. Lastly, male spouses scored higher than female spouses on every category concerning areas that have been most greatly impacted by being a spouse of a student. Though Recreation and Housework were highly ranked categories, the only category showing a significant difference was Sex. Husbands were more severely impacted in the Category of Sex than wives. Although previous research found marital dedication to be higher among females than males, this was not the case for student wives. This may suggest that student wives prioritize their academic studies while they are in school. Male spouses struggle with multiple demands while their wives are in school, calling for more attention to preclude the negative marital effects for male spouses.