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Relationship between Self-Esteem and Marital Satisfaction

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 3295 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Self-esteem is the ability to have confidence in one’s actions, thoughts, and appearance. There have been many other mental health problems linked with low self-esteem. Self-esteem will not affect the person suffering from these low levels of self-esteem but also, the people around them as well. Martial relationships will be affected by these lower levels of self-esteem. If one is not satisfied with himself it can possibly be brought out on the husband/wife. The purpose of the study is to determine whether low marital/relationship satisfaction rates are associated with low levels of self-esteem. The study will be a quantitative and correlation survey design. Participants will self-select. Participants must be in a relationship or married. Participants will be completing questionnaires like the Rosenberg self-esteem scale to measure self-esteem and The Network of Relationships Social Provision questionnaire will be used to access intimacy and relationship satisfaction. Results to be determined. Results from this study will provide awareness of lower levels of self-esteem and unsatisfied marital or relationship status. Participants may seek help or counseling post participating.


 Self-esteem issues have been on the rise in the last couple of years. With the rise of internet use as well as social media, higher levels of self-esteem, and depression rates have been reported (Wiederhold, 2016). Self-esteem issues have been found in people of all ages. From as early as 5 years old children become more aware of the concept of self-awareness (Carlson et al., 2017.) This awareness only grows as time goes on and one is exposed to new things and new realistic beliefs. The researchers intend to look at these levels of self-esteem in marital satisfaction rates. This research is important because there have been studies done to show the correlation between tremendous levels of self-esteem and divorce problems (Bonnington, 1988.) A lot of people think they are unworthy of love. So, they ruin their marriage. The research provided below will demonstrate just some ways that these relationships are being tested.

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 High levels of self-esteem not only damage a family marriage sometimes but the children in the relationship as well. There have been studies showing the correlation between divorce rates due to self-esteem and academic performance in families with children in school. Results show that children who came from families that were divorced typically score lower on exams that have to do with self-concept, self-esteem, and GPA (Beer, 1989.) In order to prevent these higher divorce rates people, need to become more aware of how to deal and handle low self-esteem levels and when to seek help.

Literature Review

 Self-esteem is the concept of that one can be confident and comfortable in their own skin. Self-esteem is the ability to deal with life’s challenges from a first-person perspective. Giving oneself the ability to be happy, loved, deserving and entitled (Branden, 1990.) When someone has low self-esteem it not only affects them but, if they are in a relationship it affects the other person in the relationship, the relationship itself, children if any, and the over health stability of the person experiencing self-esteem. Mental health has been associated with self-esteem and self-image (Oktan, 2017.)  There have been various studies done examining specific qualities that link low relationship satisfaction rates to lower self-esteem rates. A study conducted by Marcus Mund, Christine Finn, Birk Hagemeyer, Julia Zimmermann, and Franz J. Neyer conducted a study in which they choose participants who were in relationships for over a year. They then administered the Self‐Description Questionnaire III questionnaire, and the German version of the relationship assessment scale. Results concluded that self-esteem and relationship satisfaction share a common developmental dynamic from young adulthood to the midlife transition especially in marital relationships. (Mund et al., 2015)

 Self-esteem in adults is highly correlated with many other factors. For example, success in friendships, in family relationships, body image, and sexual relationships. When someone has low self-esteem, it means they are not confident enough in them self to belief they can “achieve” what they want. If you lack self-esteem for instance and don’t think one is smart enough one will not apply to a “far reach college” like Yale. One would stick with colleges that they easily will be admitted to. Self-esteem in relationships works the same way. If one lacks the ability to love them self, they would rarely let anyone else love them. Relationships and the self are inextricably interdependent. (Hepper et al., 2011) If one does not feel confident in yourself then you most likely will not feel confident in a relationship, in your job, school, or even in your own skin.

The next level would be self-esteem in teenagers. Researchers believe that this generation is more prone than any other generation to have lower self-esteem levels (Bozoglan et al., 2013.) The extreme use of social media and the constant comparison between likes, followers, and looks will have a key effect on these lower self-esteem levels. If teens are always at a battle with themselves in the person, they are constantly watching on a screen of course these levels of self-esteem will remain low. Research conducted by Abbas Tashakkori, Vaida D. Thompson, Joel Wade, and Ernest Valente studied the stability of self-esteem in late teens. Participants included adolescents in their last year of high school. There was a total of 10,158 people that participated in the study. Participants were given the Rosenberg questionnaire and a self- belief structure to fill out. The study was a longitudinal study that followed the participants as high school seniors, in 1982, and 1984. Results indicated that there seemed to be this correlation between lower levels self-esteem issues as a child and the unchanged view as one grows older (Tashakko et al.,1990.)

 The last group highly susceptible to have low self-esteem is children. Essentially the children are the future of the world. They will grow up to have families and children of their own. But if a child has self-esteem will they branch out later in life to meet people and fall in love? These are the most important thing to think about when dealing with children with self-esteem. Children with self-esteem are not only hurting but they can be deprived of branching out in places like school, work, and relationships. Research has been done on this topic and whether there is a correlation between the specific race and ethnicity with self-esteem. (Cvencek, 2017) Researchers believe that this is relevant today. This research examined students’ academic performance while dealing with low self-esteem levels. The author then compared ethnic backgrounds to see if that had a correlation.

 Environmental factors are a key factor on self-esteem. If you grow up in an environment in which you cannot be oneself, that will have a negative impact on your future.                   (Hosogi et al., 2012) The authors used measures like the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and Janis-Field Feeling of Inadequacy Scale. Results indicated that revealed that children who had family dysfunctions had the lowest levels of self-esteem. The environment you grew up in will either make or break you. If you are in a toxic household where there is constant violence, then that will not help one’s self esteem levels.



The researchers anticipate recruiting 100 participants. The participants will either must be in an intimate relationship or, be married for at least two years. Participants must be between the ages of 18 years old and under the age of 50.  If participants are married, they must provide enough documents to indicate so. Individuals may be of any biological sex, race, or ethnicity. Individuals may be of any sexual orientation. Participants will self-select to participate in the study. Fliers will be distributed in public areas such as bus stops, restaurants, stores, malls, and gas stations within a 20-30-mile radius of Temple University. On the flier information regarding what the study is on and who is wanted, location, and how long the study will last is all listed on the paper. It will also say “if criteria met participants may receive compensation for time” Participants with a reported history of suicidal attempts or substance use will be excluded. Also, participants who’ve been to marriage therapists will be excluded. Single participants will be excluded as well.


        Rosenberg self-esteem scale will be used to measure (Rosenberg, 1965). The Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale measured self-esteem. There is a total of a 10-item scale that assesses self-worth by measuring both positive and negative feelings about the self. Items consist of statements such as “I feel that I have a number of good qualities, all in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure” (Rosenberg, 1965) The scale is scored using a Likert scale. Questions being assessed vary from a four-point scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. For questions 3,5,8,9,10 are revered in order. Strongly Agree being 0, Agree being 1, Disagree being 2, and Strongly Disagree being 3. The score ranges from 0-30, 30 being the highest possible score someone can attain. The Rosenberg scale is the most widely used measure of self-esteem for research purposes, but the Rosenberg scale is not to be used as a diagnostic aid solely for any psychological issues of states.

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         Intimacy. Intimacy will be assessed with The Network of Relationships Social Provision Questionnaire Manual (Buhrmester, Furman 1985) This questionnaire specifically focuses on romantic partner relationships. There is a total of 10 scales with three items per question being asked. Questions vary from companionship, conflict, instrumental aid, antagonism, intimate disclosure, nurturance, affection, reassurance of worth, relative power, and reliable alliance. Questions vary from “How much does this person have a strong feeling of affection (loving or liking) toward you? to How often do you share secrets and private feelings with this person?” The scores are then averaged to determine the relationship status.

Control variables will be determined by age, gender, and how long the participants have been in the relationship

Participants will also be given a demographic questionnaire to identify biological sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and age.


Fliers of the study will be administered in public areas such as malls, parks, dining areas as well as wellness centers and hospitals. The radius of the research will extend around 20-30 miles around Temple University’s main campus. Participation will be voluntary to be a part of the study. Participants must qualify with the criteria of the research prior to being selected. Otherwise will be excluded. Questionnaires were administered in a classroom environment at Temple University. Once the participants arrived at the classroom in Weiss hall, they will then be asked to complete consent forms and will be reminded that if at any time during the study they felt uncomfortable or disturbed they could discontinue their participation at any time with penalization.  After signing consent forms the participants in relationships then were separated between relationship status. After being separated by relationship status the researchers then separated each couple into two separate rooms while administering the questionnaires.  After submitting all their materials, the participants had the opportunity to ask any questions they had about the experiment. After reviewing the data, the researchers will then select who is the best fit to continue to participate. The researchers are looking for participants with higher levels of self-esteem and lower satisfaction rates in relationships.


         The study anticipates that low self-esteem is correlated with lower satisfaction rates in relationships. This hypothesis is supported by the participants results after taking the questionnaires. The results were very similar to the results from the literature review. According to Johnson, Galambos, Finn and Neyer 2017 higher satisfaction reported my men were linked to higher self-esteem levels and in female partners higher baseline levels of self-esteem, more frequent support for both partners, and fewer depressive symptoms.” (et al, 2017) Such a hypothesis is supported by the overall lack of information found on the correlation between self-esteem and relationship variances.

Study strengths include the use of validated measures and, the variety of relationship preferences. Though the internal validity and the experimental realism of the present study seems strong, it should be noted that the present study is limited, in that the sample consisted of only participants in relationships. Also, study limitations include the use of self-report, limited generalizability to single participants if they were to be considered for the study. When dealing with any type of descriptive research in which participants must answer based of experiment, participants will not always be completely honest. Also, participants might refrain from telling the whole truth because they may want to appear more favorable. For example, if a question within the survey were to ask if a mother drank at least during her pregnancy while she was pregnant with her child the parent may so no because that answer is more desirable.

For future research may be specifically focusing on the gender of the participant that is more affected will benefit researchers and initially create a new hypothesis which would be more applicable to participants. For future research, conducting a study on why single people are single will give more insight on the topic. The ideal study will include all relationships. For example, because this study is limited to married participants, for future research open that gap to relationship status like engaged participants, boyfriend- girlfriend relationships, or even single. The researchers only   recommendations are broadening the scope of the research and maybe make the study a longitudinal one instead. This being because in order to fully understand the results on the study one would need to follow the participants on an extended observation.


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