Spirituality, marital quality, and psychological adjustment in pregnant Orthodox Jewish women

Talia S Marmon, Fordham University


Pregnancy is a time of emotional and physical changes that pose a psychological challenge to the pregnant woman. The present study examined two qualities, daily spiritual experience (DSE) and relational intimacy, which were hypothesized to function as coping resources and contribute to improved adjustment during pregnancy. DSE was examined for its role in predicting well-being during pregnancy in light of the burgeoning body of research supporting the role of religion and spirituality variables in the psychological well-being of various health populations and individuals undergoing transitions. Five types of marital intimacy (emotional, social, sexual, recreational, and intellectual) were assessed to extend prior research on marital relational qualities and their role in psychological outcome during pregnancy. The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale and the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships were used to assess these constructs, with the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule and Satisfaction With Life Scale employed as outcome measures. Participants were 167 Orthodox Jewish pregnant women at all points in their pregnancy, who responded primarily via Internet. No substantive distinctions in outcome were observed based on parity, length of the pregnancy, or other demographic variables. When intimacy and DSE were employed jointly to predict well-being during pregnancy, 27% of the variance in life satisfaction, 19% of the variance in positive affect, and 10% of the variance of negative affect could be accounted for by these two variables, which have rarely been studied in this context. Findings indicated that DSE was predictive of life satisfaction and positive affect, though not of negative affect, even when intimacy was controlled for. Furthermore, the intimacy variables were predictive of both life satisfaction (particularly sexual intimacy) and of negative affect (particularly emotional and intellectual intimacy), even when DSE was controlled for. The findings further indicated that for women with adequate resources, normal psychological equilibrium can usually be maintained during pregnancy. The particular attributes of the population under study are explored. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed, limitations noted, and directions for future research suggested.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Psychotherapy|Judaic studies

Recommended Citation

Marmon, Talia S, "Spirituality, marital quality, and psychological adjustment in pregnant Orthodox Jewish women" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3301440.