Marital ideology, Life Scripts, and the Pressure to Marry
Students attend college to continue their education, earn a degree, develop as an individual, and in some opinions, find a mate. This last goal, to find a mate, is critically analyzed in a research collaboration between Karyl Daughters (Communication), Courtney Hanson (CSB, 2010), and the students of Spring 2011 COMM 385A: Love, Sex, and Commitment. This forum presentation discusses results from a study exploring various factors associated with students' perceived pressure to marry. The relational dynamics examined in this study provide insight into why college students do, or do not, feel pressure to find and marry a mate.
Specifically, the study explores relationships between marital ideology and social scripts and the pressure to marry. Marital ideology (e.g., traditional or egalitarian) is of particular interest to the extent that it prescribes expectations for adherence to certain sex-role behaviors in the marriage. A conceived social script is also important as it may have implications for a student's desire to adhere to what is deemed a normal life sequence. If emerging adults feel some urgency about getting married it may be because they experience pressure to adhere to a life transition sequence, or what can also be referred to as a relational script. The presentation includes analysis of these two main factors along with an exploration of how pressure to marry varies by sex, religiousness and parental relationship status. The implications of the results, along with limitations and recommendations for future research, are also discussed.