The Remarriage Belief Inventory: Testing the Factorial Structure and Validity with a Remarried Sample
Type of DegreeDissertation
Human Development and Family Studies
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Recent figures have indicated that approximately half of all marriages each year are remarriages for one or both partners and that the majority of these remarriages form stepfamilies. Despite the prevalence of remarriages and stepfamilies, relatively few empirically-validated resources specific to remarriages/stepfamilies are available to researchers, educators, and therapists. The purpose of this study was to refine and test the factorial structure and evaluate the external validity of the Remarriage Belief Inventory - an instrument developed to assess individual’s beliefs regarding remarriage and stepfamily. The Remarriage Belief Inventory was designed to elicit research knowledge about remarital beliefs and assumptions and to enhance programmatic and clinical work with couples preparing for or living in stepfamilies. Using an on-line sample of 344 individuals in remarriages and/or stepfamilies, this study addressed the measurement and validation of specific beliefs and examined how they impact aspects of remarital quality. These beliefs are: (1) Adjustment comes quickly, (2) Stepfamilies are second-class, (3) Children are priority, (4) Past feelings should end, (5) Partner is perfect, (6) Success is slim, and (7) Finances should be pooled. A parsimonious seven-factor, 22-item instrument was confirmed. This structure was cross-validated by an independent sample of another 217 remarried individuals. In tests of external validity, Finances should be pooled and Success is slim had the strongest relationships with remarital quality. The 7 beliefs explained a unique amount of the variance in reports of marital satisfaction above and beyond that explained by a measure of general relationship beliefs. Results from causal invariance tests did not indicate significant differences for the linkages between Remarriage Belief Inventory factors and remarital satisfaction based on years married or stepfamily type. The Remarriage Belief Inventory represents the first empirically validated measure of seven distinct remarriage beliefs. This instrument can serve to move the study of remarital dynamics forward. Recommended areas of exploration include (a) the etiology of beliefs, (b) stability of beliefs over time and factors that impact their stability/instability, (c) partner congruence on beliefs and the impact of congruence on relational outcomes, and (d) the linkages among behaviors, beliefs, and relational outcomes. Practical applications of the Remarriage Belief Inventory and considerations for its use are also presented.