Today's society appears to have become focused on the individual and his/her exclusive needs in relationships. Self-sacrifice has seemingly become a forgotten value and behavior. The motives for sacrificing for another can widely vary for each individual. This study examined the effects of couples' sacrificing behaviors and the motives for sacrificing on the couples' marital quality. In this research, a random sample of 138 couples from Oakland, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Ogden, UT; and Atlanta, GA were assessed on these variables using the Self Perception of Sacrifice, Partner Perception of Sacrifice, Motives for Sacrifice, Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale, and Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships measures. Analyzing the data with structural equation modeling showed that approach and avoidance motives for sacrifice were related to the individual's marital quality. The approach motives were also related to the individual's actual frequency of sacrificing, but only wives' avoidance motives were a predictor of her frequency in sacrificing. Husband's sacrificing frequency was a strong predictor of his own marital quality and also his wife's. The wife's frequency of sacrificing was also connected with her and his marital quality, but was not as strong of a predictor as his frequency of sacrificing. In examining the partner effects, only wives' approach and avoidance motives had an effect upon their husband's marital quality. Husband's approach and avoidance motives were not related to his wife's marital quality; rather, the husband's actual frequency of sacrifice and the wife's perception of his sacrificing influenced her marital quality. Husbands' and wives' approach motives were associated with their partner's frequency of sacrifice, but their avoidance motives were not significant predictors of their partner's frequency of sacrifice. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


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sacrifice, sacrificing behaviors, couples, motives, motivation, marital quality, relationship quality