THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG COMMUNICATION STYLE, SELF ESTEEM, AND THE COUPLE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM
This study addressed two related problems. The first problem is the lack of research assessing a major theoretical assertion in the family therapy field, Virginia Satir's hypothesized correlation between communication and self-esteem. The second problem concerns the lack of well-controlled, systematic studies evaluating marital enrichment programs. Regarding the first problem, two questions were examined: (1) is there a correlation between an individual's level of self-esteem and his/her level of communication skill? and (2) is that correlation maintained after one variable (level of communication skill) is manipulated? The Couple Communication Program (CCP) was selected as the marital enrichment program to be studied relative to the second problem. Questions addressed in this part of the study included: (1) do individuals taking CCP learn new communication skills and maintain this learning after six months? and (2) does CCP raise the level of self-esteem of each participant and, if so, does this increase last? Fifty-three couples were recruited from the student and community populations around Purdue University by advertisement. These couples were assigned to one of three treatment conditions: (1) an experimental group which received the CCP training, (2) a contrast group which received a lecture-discussion course on marital enrichment programs, and (3) a no-treatment control group which was only tested. Of these couples, 36 completed all three testings: 18 in the experimental group, 11 in the contrast group, and 7 in the control group. The results of this study were based on these 36 couples who completed it. The dependent variable of self-esteem was measured by the Total Positive Score (TPS) of the Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS). Communication style was measured behaviorally. Each couple discussed a major issue between them for five minutes. This discussion was audio-taped and coded by blind raters for work-style communication (self-responsible, disclosive style) versus non-work style communication. The percentage of time that an individual was in the work-style was used as that individual's communication score. Each of these instruments was administered at each of the three test times: (1) pretest, before any treatment began, (2) posttest, the week following the experimental and contrast conditions, and (3) follow-up, six months after the experimental treatment. The results regarding the relationship between self-esteem and communication style were less than conclusive. A small, but significant, correlation was found between these variables at pretest (.319) but this correlation was much smaller at both posttest and follow-up (.093) and .071, respectively) after communication style had been manipulated. The results related to the effectiveness of CCP indicated that the training has a strong positive effect on communication style immediately following the program but that this effect is diminished a good deal after six months. Self-esteem did not appear to be significantly altered by the CCP training.
Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our