Award for a LIVES-master thesis on marital satisfaction in the long run at the University of Berne

Award for a LIVES-master thesis on marital satisfaction in the long run at the University of Berne

Since 2011, the advancement award of the Seniors' University of Berne has been conferred annually on particularly meritorious research in the field of age and ageing. This year, the CHF 10’000 prize goes to Jeanine Zwahlen for her master thesis "Marital satisfaction in long-term partnerships: A typological approach", realized within the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES under the supervision of Prof. Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello. The award ceremony will take place on the occasion of the Dies Academicus of the University of Berne on Saturday, December 7, 2013.

The goal of the thesis was to identify patterns in the quality of long-term married individuals still in their first marriage, a group not substantially empirically researched. Based on NCCR LIVES IP12 questionnaire data from 258 women and 236 men (494 individuals total), all of whom were married for at least 40 years, a cluster analysis revealed two groups: a satisfied and an unsatisfied group of partners. The two groups not only differ in interpersonal and intrapersonal resources, but also exhibit different values in health factors. Satisfied individuals in long-term marriages reported higher marital and sexual satisfaction, and furthermore reached higher scores in co-development in the relationship. Additionally, happily married individuals were characterized by lower scores in social loneliness, better psychological and physical health as well as low neuroticism and high scores in agreeableness.

Prof. Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello, head of IP12 at the NCCR LIVES, said, “Jeanine Zwahlen’s master thesis is an excellent scientific achievement, which helps fill a research gap. I find it remarkable that a master student addressed this complex topic in the condensed form of a scientific paper that is so differentiated and informative."