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This study examined the influence of personality dimensions and spousal age difference on marital adjustment of married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions. Two hundred and six (206) married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions (the University, the Institute of Ecumenical Education, the Secondary School, and the Primary School) formed the participants of the study. The study employed simple random sampling technique (simple balloting) to select participants to this study and the Big Five Personality Inventory and the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale were used to collect data for the study. Correlation result indicated that all the five personality dimensions extraversion (r = -.13, p <.05), agreeableness (r = -.36, p <.001), conscientiousness (r = -.26, p <.001), neuroticism (r = .24, p <.001) and openness to experience (r = -.33, p <.001) were significantly related to marital adjustment. Among these five dimensions of personality, only agreeableness (β

=      -.244, p <.01) and openness to experience (β = -.201, p <.05) made statistically significant negative contribution in predicting marital adjustment, while the other three dimensions (extraversion, conscientiousness and neuroticism) did not make statistically significant contributions in predicting marital adjustment. Recommendations were made as well as suggestions for further studies.



Marriage which brings together two typically different individuals- different in so many ways, in choices and preferences, opinions and stances, background and orientations, perceptions and some of the times in cultural and religious background- require of parties to properly handle their similarities and differences in order to live happily and be satisfied with the marriage and with each other. According to Kumari (2017), marriage is an institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependency for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family. Marriage, indeed is an important factor of our family system. This is based upon the need for being and living together and the emotional security, this provides, upon the needs for sexual expression and upon the desire for the begetting of off spring and an ideal union is one that fulfils most effectively these sexual requirements (Kumari, 2017). People marry for many reasons, like; love, happiness, companionship and the desire to have children, physical attraction or desire to escape from an unhappy situation (Bernard, 1984).

Couples who are able to understand themselves and positively cope with their uniqueness as well as their similar qualities are said to have positive marital adjustment and vice versa. Every married person and couple anticipates satisfaction- with spouse and the marriage- and feelings of happiness in the


marriage as it progresses. These feelings of happiness, satisfaction with marriage and spouse are the components of a well-adjusted married life.

Marital adjustment has been given different definitions. Thomas (1977) and Sinha and Mukerjee (1990) viewed it as a state of living and defined it as "the state in which there is an overall feeling between husband and wife, of happiness and satisfaction with their marriage and with each other”; while Hashmi, Khurshid, and Hassan, (2007) saw it as a condition and defined it as the condition in which there is usually a feeling of pleasure and contentment in husband and wife and with each other. Nugent (2013) saw it as a process in which partners in a marriage adapt and change to their new roles complementing each other, acting as a team opposed to two separate units.

These definitions point out that a well-adjusted married life is that in which there is satisfaction and feelings of wellness among partners with the marriage and the spouse. With this, marital adjustment can be seen as the state in which couples understand and cope with their spouse’s unique as well as similar qualities and the challenges of married life in order to bring about feelings of wellness between them and to have a relatively satisfactory marriage.

According to Lazarus (1983), there are six areas of marital adjustment such as, religion, social life, mutual friends, in-laws, money and sex. A study conducted by (Margolin, 1980) found that there are ten areas of marital adjustment namely, values, couple growth, communication, conflict resolution, affection, roles, cooperation, sex, money and parenthood. Marital adjustment therefore calls for


experiencing, satisfactory relationship between spouse characterized by mutual concern, care, understanding and acceptance (Kumari, 2017).

Marital distress has been associated with a host of psychological difficulties, particularly depression (Beach, Whisman & O'Leary, 1994). The ultimate measurement of successful marriage is the degree of adjustment achieved by the individuals in their marriage roles and interaction with one another. Whether or not a marriage is successful is determined by the interaction between the two partners over the time span of their marriage (Kumari, 2017).

Bouchard, Lussier and sabourin (1999) made a good contribution to the understanding of the relationship between personality and marital adjustment by using the five factors model of personality. Many researchers believe this model is a comprehensive framework for organizing personality traits (Borkenau & Ostendrof, 1990; Digaman, 1990; Mc Crae 1991; Montag & Levine 1994). The five factor model postulates that the normal personality is multidimensional, composed of five dimensions: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and conscientiousness (Kumari, 2017).

Spousal age difference is the age gap between couple. One of the features in the marriage studies is that individuals match in assorted ways on age and that the most common pairing is one in which the husband is a few years older than the wife (Presser, 1975; Glick & Lin, 1986). While this pattern of matching on age is well known, the underlying mechanism that generates this sorting is not well understood. For example, some studies suggest that marital gains are largest in


older husband-younger wife pairs (Bergstrom & Bagnoli, 1993) while others find that marital gains are largest for similarly-aged couples (Choo & Siow, 2006). A number of theoretical models assume that men (and in some models, women) prefer younger spouses for their “fitness” or fecundity (Siow, 1998; Coles & Francesconi, 2011; Diaz-Gimenez & Giolito, 2013), while analysis using online and speed dating data suggest that both men and women instead prefer similarly-aged partners (Belot & Francesconi, 2013, Hitsch, Hortascu & Ariely, 2010).

The drive of the present study is to examine the effect of the five dimensions of personality namely, Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and conscientiousness and spousal age difference on marital adjustment among staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions.


The rate of dissatisfaction and maladjustment in today’s marriages is alarming leading to dissolutions of marriages, separation and other counter-togetherness outcomes. This makes investigating the dimensions of personality that predispose married men and women to adjust to their marriage an important fit. Studies have shown that personality dimension such as Neuroticism and Extraversion have relationship with marital adjustment (Bouchard et al, 1999; Kosek, 1996; Lester et al, 1989; Russell & Wells, 1994). There is however need to find out the contribution of all the five dimensions of personality -


Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness – on marital adjustment.

People – men and women alike, when making choice of partner consider their age differences. Older men tend to either chose same/closely aged women or chose younger or even much younger (than them) aged women. Some even do not mind older (than them) women. Women chose most often, older men, same/closely aged and rarely younger (than them) men. This choice is usually accompanied with certain feelings. Therefore, it will be important to look into the ability of spousal age difference (how many years old one spouse is older than the other) in predicting marital adjustment and equally see how it works together with personality dimensions to predict marital adjustment. Specifically, the problem of this study are as follow:

1.     Will the five dimensions of personality predict marital adjustment?

2.     Will spousal age difference predict marital adjustment?

Purpose of the Study

This study seeks to find out whether the five dimensions of personality and spousal age difference can be used to predict marital adjustment among married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu. Specifically, this study will seek to:

i.                   Determine the influence of Neuroticism on marital adjustment among married staff of Godfrey Okoye group of institutions, Enugu

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