Differentiation of the Self, Couples' Intimacy, and Marital Satisfaction: A Similar Model for Palestinian and Jewish Married Couples in Israel
7 Iɴᴛ’ʟ. J. Jᴜʀɪs. Fᴀᴍ. 1 (2016)
32 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2018
Date Written: 2016
This study compares Palestinian and Jewish married couples in Israel on the importance of differentiation of the self (DS) and couples' intimacy to marital satisfaction. A comparison of both societies' cultures was conducted on the continuum of individualism and collectivism. Data collection was unique due to the participation of both married partners. The sample included 167 married couples from central and northern Israel. Data analysis was guided by two interlocking strategies: analysis of each spouse separately and dyadic analysis (actor-partner interdependence model, APIM) of the couples as units. The findings situate the diversely perceived intimacy of couples and DS as more important to marital satisfaction than social-cultural variables. Even though Palestinian and Jewish married couples were rated differently on both scales of DS and couples' intimacy, their scores on marital satisfaction were similar. In addition, Palestinian and Jewish couples held different tendencies of both traits of individualism and collectivism, but these tendencies interacted similarly with other study variables, making the model similar for both (i.e., correlations were in the same direction). Our analysis differs from studies conducted elsewhere in the world with couples and supports Bowen's theory concerning DS as universal. These results have several implications that may contribute to the edification of clinical therapists, improved development of services, and the practice of culturally sensitive therapy in the treatment of Palestinian and Jewish couples. This research may also help Westem-oriented therapists for couples and families to better tailor their methodologies to the distinct characteristics of these national groups. Furthermore, the findings may shed new light on Eastern- and Westem-oriented populations in Israel and elsewhere in the world, encouraging further studies of the challenges that contemporary married couples face.
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