The tripartite nature of marital commitment: Personal, moral, and structural reasons to stay married

Michael P. Johnson, John P. Caughlin, Ted L. Huston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study assesses the empirical viability of Johnson's (1991) commitment framework. The core principle is that commitment, rather than a unitary phenomenon, involves three distinct experiences: wanting to stay married, feeling morally obligated to stay married, and feeling constrained to stay married. Using data from a sample of married couples, we show that direct measures of the three experiences are not highly correlated with each other, that a measure of so-called global commitment is a function primarily, if not exclusively, of personal commitment, that the three direct measures of the experiences of commitment are associated for the most part with the components of each type as hypothesized in the commitment framework, and that the three types of commitment and their components are not associated in the same way with other variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-177
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Commitment
  • Marriage
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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