This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifying the association between relationship hopelessness and relationship satisfaction and the moderating role of the therapeutic alliance




Wiggins, Madison

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Science


Relationship satisfaction is a variable highly focused on in relationship literature through attempts to understand its influences and influencers. This study hoped to further contribute to that research by analyzing the influence of hopelessness on relationship satisfaction and the moderating role of the therapeutic alliance for individuals in relationships receiving couples therapy treatment. Past studies established hopelessness as a risk for various negative factors and therapeutic alliance as a positive experience with the potential to intervene in negative factors’ influence on the romantic relationship. Archival data collected from the Auburn University Marriage and Family Therapy Center (AUMFTC) was used to test a moderation model of the effects of the interaction of relationship hopelessness and therapeutic alliance on couples’ satisfaction in the first four sessions of therapy, assuming that the male’s alliance would present more significant in the result. The hierarchical multiple regression produced different results for men and women. For women, the most significant was that hopelessness negatively affected relationship satisfaction. No association existed for these variables with therapeutic alliance for women, nor did the alliance moderate the effects of hopelessness. The interaction of hopelessness and therapeutic alliance did have a significant impact on relationship satisfaction for males. These results demonstrate the critical roles hopelessness and alliance play in therapy and have implications for clinicians and researchers.