Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Christopher, Karen Lyn


Altruism--Sex differences; Marriage--Psychological aspects


In light of western cultural trends toward individualism, the presence of altruistic marital attitudes and behavior is examined as a predictor of marital happiness. Most quantitative studies exploring correlates of marital happiness use the same underlying concept of asking participants how their spouses' actions help them obtain marital happiness. Specifically, this research departs from convention by using a respondent's own level of altruism to predict his or her own marital happiness. Quantitative data gathered in the Louisville Metropolitan Survey 2004 is used for the project. Several methods of analysis find support for ties between certain manifestations of marital altruism and increased levels of marital happiness. Altruism is used as a predictor for both male and female achievement of marital happiness, which extends an expectation long held for women to include men. Different pathways between the independent variables lead to marital happiness for women and men, although altruism is found to be an important predictor for both men and women. Possible reasons for these gender differences are explored.