Title page for ETD etd-09212004-011204

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Boykin, Esther Laree
Author's Email Address eboykin@vt.edu
URN etd-09212004-011204
Title Successful Teenage Marriages: A Qualitative Study of How Some Couples Have Made It Work
Degree Master of Science
Department Marriage and Family Therapy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stith, Sandra M. Committee Chair
Huebner, Angela J. Committee Member
McCollum, Eric E. Committee Member
Rosen, Karen H. Committee Member
  • marital quality
  • couples
  • adolescent couples
  • teenagers
  • marriage
  • qualitative research
  • young marriage
Date of Defense 2004-09-15
Availability unrestricted
Teenage marriage is a topic that has received limited attention from researchers. In 1990 nearly one out every five first time brides in the United States was under the age of 20. Although it is commonly accepted that these marriages are likely to end in divorce, there is little scientific evidence to validate that. The focus of most studies has been on negative outcomes of these marriages however little concrete evidence has been found to condemn all teen marriages as doomed. This study is a qualitative look at how six couples that married as teenagers have created successful and long lasting unions. Six white couples from the Eastern U.S. participated in 60 to 90 minute long interviews. Using a qualitative method and a phenomenological perspective this study describes the processes these couples believe are most important to their success. The couples provided their personal experiences as well as their unique perspectives on the ingredients necessary for marital success. Five major themes emerged from the couples' interviews including commitment, communication, shared values, spirituality, intimacy, and family. These five themes are common within the literature on strong marriages. In addition to these themes, the role of couple individuality and the process of growing together are discussed.
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