Study on the Quality of Marriage, Taking Into Account Social and Family Structure, Conflict Potential and Interaction Behaviour (SESKI)

Project management: Prof. Dr. Paul. B. Hill

Project team members: Dr. Oliver Arránz Becker; Dr. Kirsten Rüssmann; Daniel Lois

Project funding: DFG

Funding period: April 1, 2001 to February 28, 2005 (including extension)

Funding amount: 333,000 Euro

Short Summary

The research project SESKI and its extension aims to investigate the effects of interaction behaviour on the quality and stability of relationships, taking into account social and family structural characteristics. The quality and stability of relationships are regarded as central moderator variables, which are of great importance for a large number of processes and decisions such as fertility and division of labour and thus concern central sociological issues of family sociology. The starting point of the investigation was the assumption derived from the exchange theory that social and family structural characteristics influence the quality of the relationship (and subsequently the stability of the relationship) via the conflict potential, which is composed of the number and significance of conflicts. However, this influence does not take place directly, but depends decisively on the interaction behavior in conflicts. The basis for the development of an explanatory model for determinants of the quality and stability of relationships was formed by the theory of bond and behavior, from which relevant characteristics of interaction behaviour were derived for the success of the relationship. At the beginning of the project, a tool for recording variables of social and family structure, conflict potential, interaction behaviour as well as relationship quality and stability was developed and validated in two pre-tests. Data from 2041 persons who lived in a firm partnership at the time of the survey were collected with this data. Subsequently, the research hypotheses were or are reviewed by means of uni- and multivariate analysis methods.


  • Arránz Becker, O. & Rüssmann, K. (2003). Kinder in jungen Familien - Konfliktquelle oder Beziehungskitt? In A. Habisch, H.-L. Schmidt & M. Bayer (Hrsg.), Familienforschung interdisziplinär. Eichstätter Symposium zu Familienwissenschaften (S. 185-202). Grafschaft: Vektor-Verlag.
  • Arránz Becker, O., Rüssmann, K. & Hill, P.B. (2005). Wahrnehmung und Bewältigung von Konflikten und die Stabilität von Partnerschaften. Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, 17(3), 251-278.
  • Hill, P.B. (Hrsg.) (2004). Interaktion und Kommunikation. Eine empirische Studie zu Alltagsinteraktionen, Konflikten und Zufriedenheit in Partnerschaften. Würzburg: Ergon.
  • Rüssmann, K., Arránz Becker, O. & Hill, P.B. (2005). Sozialstruktur, Interaktionsverhalten, Konflikte und Partnerschaftszufriedenheit. In F.W. Busch & R. Nave-Herz (Hrsg.), Familie und Gesellschaft. Beiträge zur Familienforschung (S. 77-110). Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg.
  • Rüssmann, K. (2006). Sozialstruktur und Konflikte in Partnerschaften. Eine empirische Studie zur Auswirkung von sozial- und familienstrukturellen Merkmalen auf partnerschaftliche Konflikte. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac.