Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Clinical Psychology



First Advisor

James O. Prochaska


Developmental theorists have suggested that adults progress through normal developmental stages. The time around age 30 has been identified as a period of turmoil followed by a stage of settling down and setting roots in the early 30s. This study was done to determine if forced mobility has a negative impact on couples in their early 30s who are assumed to be facing a strong need to set roots.

Subjects for this study consisted of two groups of 20 mobile and 20 non-mobile couples. The mobile population consisted of 20 couples in which the male was a military officer experiencing _ frequent forced occupational moves. "The non-mobile population consisted of 20 civilian families in which the male worked for himself or in a small business. Non-mobility was defined as the family having lived in one location for five years and having the option to remain in that location an additional five years. Couples were matched on age and years of education of male member, number of children, and total family compensation. Subjects were voluntary participants contacted through friendships or organizational affiliations.

A two by two design was used comparing mobile and non-mobile males and females on life satisfaction. Couples were compared on aspects of their lives that were taken with the family in moves and aspects that were left behind, and were also compared on a measure of self-actualization. Instruments used were Personal Orientation Inventory, semantic differential, Life Evaluation Chart, Marriage Problem Checklist, and a satisfaction scale.

All four groups reported satisfaction in all areas investigated and all four groups scored at a normal level of actualization. On the semantic differential non-mobile groups were significantly more satisfied than mobile groups with own friends, child's friends, and owning a house. Non-mobile groups scored significantly higher than mobile groups on Feeling reactivity and Capacity for Intimate Contact on the POI. Marriage Problem Checklist indicated few problem areas, but most concern was found on issues relating to children and communication.

Consistent with developmental theorists, couples were found to experience satisfaction with their lives at this early 3Os stage. Non-mobile couples were busy establishing commitments to their occupation and family and establishing roots. Mobile couples were found to be establishing family commitments and commitments to their career and were able to maintain a level of satisfaction generally equal to the non-mobile couples.

The factor of mobility apparently did exert some influence on the level of satisfaction and self-actualization experienced by the mobile group, but it did not prove to be a very strong influence.



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