This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Actions Speak Louder Than Beliefs: Compassionate Love as a Mediator of the Relationship between Religiosity and Marital Satisfaction




Sabey, Allen

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Research has generally supported the positive association between religiosity and marital satisfaction, whereby more religious individuals are more satisfied with their marriages. However, it remains unclear why religiosity benefits marriage. Addressing this gap in the literature, the current study tests whether compassionate love is a potential mechanism underlying this link. Drawing upon proximal measures of religiosity and self-reported, spouse-reported, and observed compassionate love, this study tests the relationship between religiosity and marital satisfaction and whether compassionate love explains that relationship in a sample of older couples (N=48). Results provided minimal support for the hypothesized associations. For wives, religiosity (i.e., Sacred Qualities) positively related to her marital satisfaction and that relationship was indeed explained by her self-reported compassionate love. For husbands, on the other hand, their experiences of religion within their marriage were not associated with their marital satisfaction. Possible explanations of these findings and future directions are provided.