Marital satisfaction in relation to social support, coping, and quality of life in medical staff in Tehran, Iran

University dissertation from Umeå, Sweden : Umeå university

Abstract: Marital satisfaction is one of the main characteristics of a healthy family, and is known as an important predictor of overall quality of life. Stress is unavoidable in everyday life and it can affect marital relationships. Furthermore, employed married individuals encounter more stressors than do unmarried ones, especially when their jobs are demanding and stressful, such as working as medical professionals in hospitals. Applying effective coping strategies and receiving social support, especially from emotionally close persons, are protective factors which can help individuals deal with stress and buffer the negative effects of life stress on marital and life satisfaction. In the present cross-sectional investigation, marital satisfaction was studied in relation to socio-demographic variables, social support, ways of coping, and quality of life in medical staff in Tehran. Data were collected from 653 medical staff who worked in 12 hospitals affiliated with Tehran Medical University using socio-demographic questions, the ENRICH marital satisfaction questionnaire, the SF-36 questionnaire, the Social Support questionnaire, and the Ways of Coping questionnaire. The results indicated that marital satisfaction, quality of life and spousal support were significantly higher in men than women. Spousal support was significantly associated with marital satisfaction especially in women. Multiple regression analyses indicated that marital satisfaction, social support, and job satisfaction combined with socio-demographic variables explain between 12% and 28% of the variance in quality of life domains. Analysing the data with special focus on females revealed a significant negative relationship between subscales of marital satisfaction and using “seeking social support”, “confrontive coping”, “escape avoidance”, “distancing”, and “self-controlling” as ways of coping. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that job satisfaction, social support, and ways of coping explained between 24% and 38% of the variance in seven of the nine subscales of marital satisfaction. Therefore, focusing on the study findings could be helpful in promoting marital satisfaction and quality of life in married medical staff.