Acceptance of Own Corporeality as Sanogene Factor in the Development of the Marital Relationship

(Halyna Bevz)

Institute for Social and Political Psychology of National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine

Introduction. In psychology, the category of corporeality is not a separate category of study and is explored mainly in the context of such concepts as: the phenomenon of femininity/masculinity, sexuality and gender psychology (T. Goworyn and O. Kikinerzdi, 1999); on issues of psychophysical development and psychosomatic states (K. Bondаr, 2013; V. Nikolaeva, 2009), the development of “physical-Self” in the process of personal formation, as well as the concept of bodily identity and eating addiction (T. Khomulenko, 2016; V. Nikitin, 1998; V. Tatenko, 2014), as well of developing a healthy lifestyle (K. Bondar, 2013; L. Korobka, 2012).

In the scientific debate, “corporeality” appears in two dimensions: as the natural basis of the mentality and as a sociocultural. In the area of marriage scientific research corporeality matters mainly relate to the category of marital compatibility at the psychophysical level and to the issues of disorders in the sexual sphere of private life. It turns out that the intimate side of the life of the couple, which involves physical and mental closeness, is still not sufficiently studied by scientists, specifically for the category of “corporeality”.

In our work we sought to reveal the peculiarities of the manifestation of acceptance of one’s own body by men and women in the context of their marital life.

Purpose. The purpose of the research was to study the attitude to their own body of the representatives of married couples in the categories “acceptance-rejection” and its presentation in marital interaction through the concept of “criticism of the appearance from the partner’s side” and “motivation to change one’s own body.”

Methodology. The research was conducted in Ukraine during 2015-2018. 300 persons married from one year and more (up to 55 years) and presenting themselves as a married couple (regardless of the existence/absence of legal registration of marriage) were enrolled in the study. The age of respondents varies from 19 to 75 years old. Investigations involved both men and women in equal shares.

The article states the biopsychosocial approach as providing an opportunity to cover different aspects of the psychology of corporeality in the sphere of marital interaction. Research methods. The survey was conducted by using the questionnaires (direct and on-line). A questionnaire of 15 questions was developed in order to reveal a positive body perception and the wish/motivation to change one’s body as a sign of one’s own dissatisfaction. To measure the indicator «unfavorable judgement of the respondent’s appearance by his/her partner» as a sign of partner’s dissatisfaction, a questionnaire of 5 questions was developed. Additional tools were also used to determine the strength of bonds in a married couple manifested by common values and interests, mutual support, as well as seclusion as an indicator of alienation and detachment in relationships. The developed toolkit was shaped into a single diagnostic unit including the following items: a questionnaire to identify common interests of married couples (a total of 33 items) based on the translated Oregon Avocational Interest Scales by Lewis Goldberg; Method of “Network of Support Relationships” (W. Furman, D. Buhrmester,); the Schwartz’s Value Orientations Test adjusted by V. Karandashev and UCLA method (D. Russell, L. Peplau, M. Ferguson in the version of I. Ishmukhametov).

Results. The results of the study relate to the gender differences in the attitude of the married couples to their own body, in particular, in the categories of “acceptance-rejection” and its presentation in marital interaction through the concept of “criticism of the appearance of the partner” and “motivation to change one’s own body.”

According to the results of the research, the antonymic nature of corporeality in the context of married life was confirmed, and it was statistically proved that positive attitude towards one’s own body is a condition of positive perception of the world, prosociality and satisfaction with family life as a whole and with each one of its spheres.

It is stated that the attitude towards one’s own body is a situational characteristic that is variable throughout life. It was found that in situations of criticism of the appearance from the partner, the initially fixated positive attitude to one’s own body undergoes a revision (up to its destruction).The reactive character of the motivation for changes in one’s own body is being proved: conflicting, antagonistic and criticizing environment enhances the motivation to change one’s own body and is more characteristic for women, whose probability of transformation of the body is determined also by the factor of childbirth.

The benefit of this study is the statistically established gender and age characteristics of changes in the attitude of adults towards their own body and the peculiarities of accepting their own corporeality as a life-giving potential for the development of marital life.

Conclusion. An important conclusion of the work is the statistically proved probable therapeutic effects of restoring a positive attitude to one’s own body. They relate to situations of manifestations of sociability and support of the partner as a response to a request; development of the sphere of interests that are sociable and promisingly directed for environmentally friendly management of the living environment.It was proved that the positive attitude towards one’s own body is based on the relationship of mutual support, interest in food and mode of life, thereby pointing to directions of development of the culture of marital relationships. This provides a study of the practical value and the potential for using in counselling of married couples and clinical practice.

The prospect of further research is the study of the nature of corporeality as a systemic and cultural phenomenon, which reveals the marital potential of balanced functioning in the living environment.

Keywords: family, relationship, attitude to the body, psychology of corporeality.


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