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Gender Role Attitudes of Saudi Men and Women during the Transition to Parenthood

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Title:
Gender Role Attitudes of Saudi Men and Women during the Transition to Parenthood A Comparative Study between Saudis in Saudi Arabia and Saudis in the United States
Creator:
Gazzaz, Amjad Khaled
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Florida
Publisher:
University of Florida
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Language:
english
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1 online resource (11 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.S.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Family, Youth and Community Sciences
Committee Chair:
SMITH,SUZANNA D
Committee Co-Chair:
SHEHAN,CONSTANCE L
Committee Members:
RADUNOVICH,HEIDI LISS
Graduation Date:
8/9/2014

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Gender roles ( jstor )
Marital satisfaction ( jstor )
Men ( jstor )
Mothers ( jstor )
Parenthood ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Psychological attitudes ( jstor )
Spouses ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
Womens studies ( jstor )
Family, Youth and Community Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
parenthood
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Family, Youth and Community Sciences thesis, M.S.

Notes

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to better understand how married Saudis residing in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. viewed their gender roles during the transition to parenthood, the effect of family support on gender role attitudes during the transition, and also the joint impact of gender role attitudes and family support on marital satisfaction. The final sample for this study was composed of 121 Saudi men and women in both countries. Those living in the U.S. were located through Facebook pages for Saudi students attending American universities. The sample in Saudi Arabia was located with the assistance of a non- profit organization that provides workshops and educational classes about marriage for couples before they get married and in the first few years in marriage. This organization (Al-Shaqaiq) used WhatsApp to send out a message to list of cell phone numbers of people who have attended one or more of their activities. Participants completed a 78- item questionnaire online. The first section tapped demographic characteristics. The next three sections of the questionnaire included three existing, previously tested instruments to measure gender role attitudes, marital satisfaction, and family support. The results showed that Saudi men and women residing in Saudi Arabia held more egalitarian gender role attitudes than Saudi men and women residing in the United States. Saudi men and women residing in the U.S. were more satisfied with their marriages than Saudi men and women residing in Saudi Arabia. There were no differences in perceptions of overall social support. Saudi participants living in the U.S. were just as likely to say they received support as those residing in Saudi Arabia. However, there were differences in spousal support, with Saudis in the U.S. scoring higher on perceptions of support from their spouses. The discussion section explores these results in light of the primary theoretical perspectives used in this study, symbolic interaction and identity theories. The concepts of meaning and salience of gender roles are particularly helpful in framing the results. The rapid increases in educational opportunities at all levels for girls and women changes in Saudi culture have advanced their education at home and though pursuit of advanced degrees abroad, so that there is more awareness of opportunities for women. However, there may be something unique about the temporary and purposeful international student experience that prompts Saudi husbands and wives to adhere to traditional gender role practices. Saudis who are in the U.S. temporarily may find their traditional roles most salient in this foreign context because they must rely on their spouses rather than their extended family for support during the transition to parenthood. However, this reliance may also explain the higher levels of marital satisfaction. Limitations of this study are discussed, including the sample size, particularly the underrepresentation of Saudi men living in Saudi Arabia, and the use of the imputation technique for missing data. Implications for future research are presented, emphasizing the need for more research on Saudi Arabian families and changing gender role attitudes. Implications for practice are also discussed, particularly for the development of family life education programs that might assist Saudi couples in making the transition to parenthood. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2014.
Local:
Adviser: SMITH,SUZANNA D.
Local:
Co-adviser: SHEHAN,CONSTANCE L.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Amjad Khaled Gazzaz.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
Classification:
LD1780 2014 ( lcc )

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GENDER ROLE ATTITUDES OF SAUDI MEN AND WOMEN DURING THE TRANSITION TO PARENTHOOD: A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN SAUDIS IN SAUDI ARABIA AND SAUDIS IN THE UNITED STATES By AMJAD GAZZAZ A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOO L OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014

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© 2014 Amjad Gazzaz

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To my family for supporting me

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4 ACKNOWLEDGME NTS Working on my thesis has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. I would like to thank the chair of my committee Dr. Suzanna Smith for her encouragement and support throughout my journey in graduate school. Her love and friendship offered a cure t hrough tough times of this journey. Her patience and wisdom guided me as I learned the essence of conducting thesis research. I h ave learned greatly from Dr. Smith, and all of her effort is much appreciated. Special thanks for Dr. Connie Shehan for belie ving in me. She always had trust in my ability to finish tasks that I had started. I would also like to thank Dr. Heidi Radunovich for the help throughout my studies. Special thanks to Dr. Larry Forthun for his tremendous assistance with data analysis. I would like to thank my mother, sisters, brothers, and my mother in law for their continuous encouragement and support. I am grateful for this support and thankful for them believing in me. Finally, for the person I cannot thank enough is my husband, Moham med Mokhtar. Words cannot describe how supportive, caring, and loving he has been throughout graduate school and always. I thank him very much for being the amazing person that he is and for teaching me how to be committed to reaching my goals. I thank him for all of the sacrifices he has made to ensure my success. His love and care we re the fuel that kept me going, and I would not be able to do this without his support.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 12 Background ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 12 Justification for Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 14 Purpose of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 16 Definitions of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ 16 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 18 Transition to Parenthood ................................ ................................ ......................... 18 Marital Satisfaction ................................ ................................ ........................... 19 ................................ ................................ ...................... 20 Family Support ................................ ................................ ................................ . 21 Gender Roles ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 21 Gender Roles in Saudi Arabia ................................ ................................ .......... 22 Cross Cultural Research ................................ ................................ .................. 23 Theoretical Perspectives ................................ ................................ ......................... 25 Symbolic Interaction Theory ................................ ................................ ............. 28 Research Quest ions ................................ ................................ ......................... 31 3 MTHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 33 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 33 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 33 Sample Selection ................................ ................................ ............................. 33 Instrumentation ................................ ................................ ................................ . 34 Procedure ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 37 Translation ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 38 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 38 Coding Procedures ................................ ................................ ........................... 38 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 41 Demographic Characteristics ................................ ................................ .................. 42

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6 Statistical Analyses of Marital Satisfaction, Gen der Role Attitudes, and Family Support ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 45 Descriptive Statistics ................................ ................................ ........................ 45 Statistical Analyses of Study Hypotheses ................................ ........................ 48 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ........ 53 Gender Roles ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 55 Family Support ................................ ................................ ................................ . 58 Perceived Family Support and Gender Role Attitudes ................................ ..... 59 Marital Satisfaction ................................ ................................ ........................... 60 Gen der Role Attitudes, Family Support, and Marital Satisfaction ..................... 61 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 61 Theoretical Implications ................................ ................................ .......................... 63 Implications for Interventions and Future Research ................................ ................ 65 APPENDIX: QUESTIONNAIRE ................................ ................................ .................... 68 LIST OF REFERE NCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 76 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 81

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Definitions of the theories constructs ................................ ................................ . 29 4 1 Summary of the length of stay in U.S. at the time of the study .......................... 42 4 2 Age range for men and women ................................ ................................ ......... 43 4 3 Highest education level for sample, men and women ................................ ....... 44 4 4 Years married for sample, men, and women ................................ ..................... 45 4 5 The descriptive statistics for each of the study variables by gender .................. 47 4 6 The descriptive statistics for each of the study variables by location ................. 48

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 The proposed relationship between variables ................................ ................... 31

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9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Science GENDER ROLE ATTITUDES OF SAUDI MEN AND WOMEN DURING THE TRANSITION TO PARENTHOOD: A COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN SAUDIS IN SAUDI ARABIA AND SAUDIS IN THE UNITED STATES By Amjad Gazzaz August 2014 Chair: Suzanna Smith Major: Family, Youth, and Community Sciences The purpose of this study was to better understa nd how married Saudis residing in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. viewed their gender roles during the transition to parenthood, the effect of family support on gender role attitudes during the transition, and also the joint impact of gender role attitudes and f amily support on marital satisfaction. The final sample for this study was composed of 121 Saudi men and women in both countries. Those living in the U.S. were located through Facebook pages for Saudi students attending American universities . The sample in Saudi Arabia was located with the assistance of a non profit organization that provides workshops and educational classes about marriage for couples before they get married and in the first few years in marriage. This organization (Al message to list of cell phone numbers of people who have attended one or more of their activities. Participants completed a 78 item questionnaire online. The first section tapped demographic characteristics. The next three sections o f the questionnaire included three existing, previously tested instruments to measure gender role attitudes, marital

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10 satisfaction, and family support. The results showed that Saudi men and women residing in Saudi Arabia held more egalitarian gender role at titudes than Saudi men and women residing in the United States. Saudi men and women residing in the U.S. were more satisfied with their marriages than Saudi men and women residing in Saudi Arabia. There were no differences in perceptions of overall social support. Saudi participants living in the U.S. were just as likely to say they received support as those residing in Saudi Arabia. However, there were differences in spousal support, with Saudis in the U.S. scoring higher on perceptions of support from the ir spouses. The discussion section explores these results in light of the primary theoretical perspectives used in this study, symbolic interaction and identity theories. The concepts of meaning and salience of gender roles are particularly helpful in fra ming the results. The rapid increases in educational opportunities at all levels for girls and women changes in Saudi culture have advanced their education at home and though pursuit of advanced degrees abroad, so that there is more awareness of opportuni ties for women. However, there may be something unique about the temporary and purposeful international student experience that prompts Saudi husbands and wives to adhere to traditional gender role practices. Saudis who are in the U.S. temporarily may find their traditional roles most salient in this foreign context because they must rely on their spouses rather than their extended family for support during the transition to parenthood. However, this reliance may also explain the higher levels of marital sa tisfaction. Limitations of this study are discussed, including the sample size, particularly the underrepresentation of Saudi men living in Saudi Arabia, and the use of the imputation

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11 technique for missing data. Implications for future research are presen ted, emphasizing the need for more research on Saudi Arabian families and changing gender role attitudes. Implications for practice are also discussed, particularly for the development of family life education programs that might assist Saudi couples in ma king the transition to parenthood.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background When parents decide to have children, the child bearing stage of their lives and its many associated changes begin (Lorensen, Wilson, & White, 2004). The transition to parenthood is one of the most significant life events, affecting many different aspects of Johnson, & Ingram, 2008). In the U.S., this also is typically a period accompanied by stre ss for both parents, regardless of the joy and happiness that having a new baby brings to the family (Pistrang & Barker, 2005). One topic that has received considerable research attention is marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood. Most o f the research in this area has found that there is a sharp decline in marital satisfaction as well as an increase in marital conflict after the birth of the first child (Belsky & Kelly, 1994). Another popular research topic is gender role attitudes during the transition to parenthood. There seems to be general agreement that gender roles change dramatically for parents during the transition to parenthood, at least in the U.S., and parents seem to take on more traditional gender roles and gender role attit udes (Katz Wise, Priess, & Hyde, 2010). In addition, some studies have examined the difference in gender role attitudes between first time parents and parents having their second child during the transition to parenthood. Harriman (1983) found that gender role attitudes of first time parents change more than second time parents. Other research in the U.S. found that parental role congruence, or the reduced the stress new parents experience (Cast, 2004).

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13 Although much of the published research in English on the transition to parenthood has been conducted in the U.S., some researchers in different countries have also been interested in finding out more about family relatio nships at different life stages, including the transition to parenthood. For example, a group of researchers in Norway examined a variety of issues related to family lives, such as family dynamics in Norwegian families, family interactions, roles, lifesty les, and family living conditions during the transition to parenthood (Lorensen, Wilson, & White, 2004). The same research found that a number of factors influence family life during the transition to characteristics and their relationship with their children; and the sociocultural milieu, specifically the cultural understanding of transition to parenthood (Lorensen, Wilson, & White, 2004). According to Quek, Kundson Martin, Orpen, and Victor (2011), most of the research that has been conducted on marital equality when it comes to gender role during the transition to parenthood has taken place in individualistic societies, such as the U.S. However, little is known about gender equality in collectivisti c societies. be induced to subordinate their personal goals to the goals of some collective, which is usually a stable in group, and much of the behavior of individua ls may concern goals that are consistent with the goals of this in Singapore, a collectivist society according to the researchers, examined the transition to parenthood in the social context of government policy chang es (Quek, Kundson Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011). Policies associated with economic development encouraged women to participate in the work force, while at the same time, the society also valued

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14 traditional roles for both men and women that would place a high value on women remaining at home with their children (Quek, Kundson Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011). breadwinner with a new family arrangement where both wife and husband Kundson Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011, p.946). In summary, several decades of research on the transition to parenthood in the U.S. has documented changes in gender roles and in marital satisfaction. A few studies have pointed to similar expe riences in other Western societies. However, very little is known about the transition to parenthood in non Western cultures, particularly those with a collectivist orientation. These issues are discussed further in the Justification section that follows. Justification for Study While the transition to parenthood has been thoroughly researched in the U.S., few, if any, comparative studies have been conducted that would help family scholars better understand the differences in the transition to parenthood a cross cultures and what factors account for differences. And, there is virtually no information about this process in the quite different collectivist context, although understanding differences might help families, family life educators, and policy maker s better understand what helps to reduce the stresses associated with becoming a first time parent (Cast, 2004). Addressing the transition to parenthood in Saudi Arabian culture is significant at this time, as gender roles have been changing due to societ al changes and increasing opportunities for women. Although most of these changes have occurred in the past 30 years, according to (Al Khateeb, 1998), the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia in 1938 was the transformational point for the Kingdom of Saudi Ara bia. With oil came more

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15 economic development, and that led to socioeconomic development for all members of Saudi society, including women (Al Khateeb, 1998). Women benefited from the change, s education. In 1960s, the first primary school for girls was opened; before this time all schools for girls were informal (AlMunajjed, 1997). The King of Saudi Arabia that time was King Faisal, fe (Lacey, 1981). In in Saudi Arabia (Lacey, 1981). Although education for girls was not universally accepted at the time, by 1981, about as many girls as boys were enrol led in primary and secondary schools (Hamdan, 2005). in the capital in 1979 (Hamdan, 2005). Before the government started to open universities, access to higher education for women (and for a time, for men) was largely available only to upper class Saudis who could afford to send their daughters (and sons) to universities abroad (Hamdan, 2005). While women now have access to higher education in Saudi Arabia, many still go to u niversities abroad. As Saudi women increased their education, they also gained more power over traditional (AL Khateeb, 1998). With the tremendous economic and social d evelopment in Saudi Arabia, it has become increasingly common for women to work outside the traditional gender roles in Saudi Arabia are valued as part of the conservative Sau di culture (El Sanabary, 1994); therefore, for couples to claim they had egalitarian gender

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16 roles in housework and childcare would be controversial. Family is the cornerstone of Saudi society, and ultimately, is considered the responsibility of women. In addition to raising empirical questions about gender roles and marital satisfaction in cultural context, this study has practical implications that are important for Saudi women and families. Information produced from this study may be used to help Saudi c ouples better understand gender role attitudes and expectations and marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood. This may reduce stress and lower conflict between husband and wife that create discord and instability in the marriage. A better u nderstanding of the experiences of Saudis in the U.S. during the transition to parenthood will also be useful to couples who have migrated to the U.S. and are adapting to parenthood in a much different cultural context. Purpose of Study This study examine d differences in gender role attitudes and marital satisfaction of Saudi men and women during the transition to parenthood. The purpose of this study was to better understand how married Saudis residing in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. viewed their gender role s during the transition to parenthood, the effects of family support on gender role attitudes during the transition, and also the joint impact of gender role attitudes and family support on marital satisfaction. Definitions of Terms Transition to parenthoo d. A period of time that starts with childbirth. Some studies have defined the transition to parenthood as from birth to 5 years postpartum (Kohn et al., 2012). Most researchers have focused on the first year after childbirth,

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17 when most family changes occu r (Cox, Paley, Burchinal, & Payne, 1999). The current study focuses on the first year postpartum. Gender role attitudes. Views to what is socially appropriate behavior for either gender (Katz Wise, Priess, & Hyde, 2010). Traditional gender role attitud es. Views about the distribution of power and responsibilities between men and women. In the household, the beliefs that the husband should assume the breadwinner role and have the authority for decision making, and the wife should assume the homemaker and mother role (Rogers & Amato, 2000). Egalitarian gender role attitudes. and responsibilities, with the belief that division of labor and power are to be shared. Both parents are contributing fairly equally to the f inancial support of the household, household tasks, and child rearing (Rogers & Amato, 2000). Marital satisfaction. Feelings of happiness about the marriage (Spanier, 1976). Family support. The emotional, informational, and material resources provided by the family in support of other family members (Dunst, Trivette, & Hammpy, 1994).

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18 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Transition to Parenthood The transition to parenthood is, in the simplest terms, a period of time when the mother gives birth to the first child (Katz Wise, Priess, & Hyde, 2010). However, for couples, it is commonly a life changing process involving taking on the new role of parent; adjusting to changes in the romantic relationship; making decisions and even changing expectations about running th e household, working, and caregiving; and ( Trillingsgaard, Baucom, Heyman, & Elklit, 2012, p. 770), t he transition to parenthood is often a sensitive period filled with changes that lead to dissatisfaction in the marital relationship (Moller, Hwang, & Wickberg, 2008). The changes that occur during this time demand a lot of work from both partner s ( Sevón , 2011). Men and women may have different ideas about family life, gender roles, and responsibilities ( Sevón , 2011). In fact, couples that believe in egalitarian marriages often experience more challenges (Koivunen, Rothaupt, & Wolfgram, 2009), pos sibly because of a common shift to more traditional gender roles after the birth of first child (Goldberg & Perry Jenkins, 2004). Most of the literature on the transition to parenthood in the U.S. focuses on three employment, and gender role attitudes. All three affect how smoothly this transition goes for both fathers and mothers. Each of these is reviewed in this chapter, along with family support, which was expected to play

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19 a role in the transition for Saudi spou ses. In addition, this review includes information on the transition to parenthood in the cultural context of Saudi Arabia. The theoretical perspectives and conceptual model guiding this research are also discussed. Marital Satisfaction A study by Moller , Hwang, and Wickberg (2008) found a relation between marital specifically stress associate d with family relations, finance, work, and health. First time fathers who got support from their environment experienced more positive marital relationships. In addition, for women, there was association between marital dissatisfaction and house work. A study by Claxton and Perry Jenkins (2008) found that couples experienced fewer shared activities after the birth of first child. Surprisingly, the decrease of shared leisure activities was connected to positive outcomes, possibly because couples would spe nd time together with their children. In contrast, other researchers (Dew & Wilcox, 2011) suggested that women were less satisfied in their marriages after they gave birth because they spent less time with their spouses. Also, the results suggested that in creased housework for mothers after having a baby led them to be less satisfied because they perceived this to be unfair (Dew & Wilcox, 2011). Kohn and colleagues (2012) investigated changes in different trajectories during the first two years after the c hildbirth, the transition to parenthood (defined as the first two years starting 6 weeks before the child birth), and marital satisfaction. They found

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20 that when anxiously threats to their romantic relationships they had lower marital satisfaction (Kohn, et al., 2012, p.1507) In addition, when avoidantly attached parents threats to their i ndependence and autonomy, they had lower marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood (Kohn, et al., 2012, p.1507). being are affected during the transition to parenthood. In a literature review, Koivunen, Rothaupt, and Wolfgram (2009) reported that some studies found that an unequal amount of work at home between spouses could lead to dissatisfaction in their marriage, especially for working mothers. The problem of inequal ity in the division of labor appears after the arrival of the first child (Koivunen, Rothaupt, & Wolfgram, 2009). One of the studies reviewed had an interesting finding: Men who experienced maternal employment as children participated more in their own fam they would like to hear and see appreciation from their husbands for their work inside and outside the home (Koivunen, Rothaupt, & Wolfgram, 2009). One study discovered that new working mot hers received high spousal support when their goals were family Aro, Nurmi, Saisto, & Halmesmaki, 2010, p.230). They also found that spousal support in early pregnancy led to relat ionship satisfaction before childbirth, and relationship satisfaction led to personal goal related spousal support after the childbirth. The same researchers also found that women having their first child received

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21 more spousal support compared with those w ho were having their second child (Salmela Aro, Nurmi, Saisto, & Halmesmaki, 2010). Keizer, Dykstra, and Poortman (2010) found that women who found work less salient experienced greater marital dissatisfaction than men. Family Support As mentioned in the introduction of this study, more research has been done on than in collectivistic societies. In the latter, family support is expected to be delivered to the new pare nts as mothers and fathers make the transition to parenthood. The value of this support was illustrated in the research conducted to examine the needs of new parents (Deave, Johnson, & Ingram, 2008). This study of 24 nulliparous women in southwest England found that new mothers perceived female relatives, and especially their own mothers, as providing important support, from caring for the new baby to cooking for the entire family (Deave, Johnson, & Ingram, 2008). Gender Roles Other studies have examined g ender roles and how these are affected during the childcare during the transition to parenthood did not conflict with parental gender role attitudes, gender role attitudes remained stable. On the other hand, when conflict occurred, changes in gender role attitudes after the child birth occurred (Schober, & Scott, 2012). In addition, women working long hours after child birth showed less traditional gender roles (Schober, & Scott, 2012).

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22 A study by Quek and colleagues (2011) in Singapore found that a sample of men and women tended to have more equal gender roles during the transition to parenthood than men and women in similar studies conducted in the United States. The samp le included couples with professional careers that had adopted different ideas about Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011). One factor that helped couples to create egalitarian relationships w as being able to hire a person to take care of household chores. In addition, having support from the extended family in childcare was shown to help couples maintain a focus on their careers (Quek, Kundson Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011). However, when ther e was a need for one of the spouses to sacrifice their career to meet household demands, the woman was the one to do so (Quek, Kundson Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011). Other research in the U.S. found that gender roles became more traditional for both firs t time parents and parents who were having their second child (Katz Wise, Perry dissatisfaction also increased . Gender Roles in Saudi Arabia In Saudi Arabia, educati on and employment options while traditional expectations of men and women as they become parents have remained intact. One related article reporting on a study of gender inequity in Saudi Arabia and its role in public health emphasized that traditional rol es of Saudi women, by allowing them to hold certain jobs that are approved by the

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23 society, could cause distress because of limiting the field they can work in (Mobaraki & Söderfeldt, 2010). Another study by Nassif and Gunte (2008) examined how women were p significantly more often than male leads in domestics or household roles and less often also expre ssed that what is shown in the media is a reflection of the reality of gender roles in Saudi Arabia (Nassif & Gunter, 2008). Although in many ways Saudi Arabia remains a traditional culture, some civil actions suggest that there is a desire for change, a t least among some young women ( Jamjoom & Smith Spark, 2013). In addition, the United Nations Watch and some democracies that are U.N. members have praised Saudi Arabia for improvements in protecting the rights of women (Chasmar, 2013). As early as 1974, Youssef pointed out offering women an equal opportunity to get an education. Recent increases in opportunities in the work force, although far from widespread, may serve as catalysts for changes in gender roles. According to the Saudi Department of Statistics of the Ministry is low compared to other parts of the world, it is nevertheless a huge change in Saudi society. Cross Cultural Research satisfaction and household work during the transition to par enthood, while also considering other factors such as the temperament of the child and the level of support from the environment (Moller, Hwang, & Wickberg, 2008). In this case, the term

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24 environment referred to supports available as the result of liberal family leave policies. In Sweden, fathers are encouraged to participate through paid parental leave (Fägerskiöld, 2008). Parents have good economic support during the parental leave, and the country also provides daycare services at a reasonable price (Mol ler, Hwang, & Wickberg, 2008). Mothers and fathers can choose to stay with baby for up to thirteen months and still receive eighty percent of their salary during this leave period (Moller, Hwang, & Wickberg, 2008). In Finland women get financial support f rom the government for free visits to community midwives (Salmela Aro, Nurmi, Saisto, & Halmesmaki, 2010). Furthermore, laws and policies allow equality between mothers and father by giving both the choice to stay with the baby. Either parent could take le ave and stay at home with their baby for up to four months ( Sevón , 2011). Schober and Scott (2012) examined the role of the mother as the ideal caregiver in British society. A generous maternity leave policy allows mothers a six month paid leave, but in B ritain, no policies provide for paid paternal leave for an equal length of time (Schober & Scott, 2012). While it has become more acceptable for fathers to participate in childcare, egalitarian minded men who would like to share childcare do not have time off or the option of working part time during the transition to parenthood hours tend to be longer in Britain than in other European countries.

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25 Interestingly, these st udies focus on family policies in support of a successful transition to parenthood. Of particular interest are policies ensuring financial support their babies. Theoretical Perspectives Previous research on the transition to parenthood has used various theories as guiding frameworks. Some of these theories are cognitive dissonance theory, attachment theory, distributive justice , social structure theory, family life cycle development theory, and feminist theory. However, many of the articles reviewed for this study did not use any guiding theoretical framework. This section summarizes the theories that have previously been used. One theory that holds considerable potential for the study of the transition to parenthood is symbolic interactionism, and this is explored in more detail. A study by Schober and Scott (2012) used cognitive dissonance theory to explain the changes in gen der role attitudes when couples become parents. This theory proposes that individual attitudes change when cognitive conflict occurs, which is accompanied by feelings of discomfort. The authors predicted that couples feeling dissonance over their conflicti ng roles and gender role beliefs would adjust their attitudes toward more traditional gender roles (Schober, & Scott, 2012). In addition, this study used the psychological theory of interdependence. This theory explained that people change some of their at titudes to come closer to others in their interpersonal relationships, as might occur during the transition to parenthood when each partner

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26 One study used the theory of distributive justice to e responsibility for housework. Distributive justice theory emphasizes that people become dissatisfied in their relationships when they experience what they perceive as unfairness (Dew, & Wilcox, 2011). Because women perceived doing more of the housework as unfair, women were not satisfied in their marriages during the transition to parenthood (Dew, & Wilcox, 2011). A study by Katz Wise, Priess, a nd Hyde, (2010) used social structure theory to occupy lead them to develop psychological qualities and, in turn, behaviors to fit those ( Katz Wise, Priess, & Hyd e, 2010, p.18). The authors used social structure theory to examine the changes that occurred in gender role attitudes, identity salience, and division of labor for first time parents and parents who have their second child (Katz Wise, Priess, & Hyde, 201 0). Men and women have psychological differences before they have their babies as a result of different roles they play in their lives (Katz Wise, Priess, & Hyde, 2010). clo se relationships based on interactions with primary caregivers and others who have 2012, p.1507) . Children who grow up with an unsupportive attachment figure may develop an avoidant attachment pattern or anxious attachment pattern that leads to the orientation of adult attachment (Kohn, Rholes, Simpson, Martin III, Tran, & Wilson, 2012) . Attachment theory was used to investigate the changes during the first two

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27 years of the Simpson, Martin III, Tran, & Wilson, 2012) . The first group the study focused on was this group, receiving support from their partners during the transition to parenthood may cause lower marital satisfaction. The second group they studied was avoidantly them, not being able to maintain their independence may cause lower marital satisfaction (Kohn, Rholes, Simpson, Martin III, Tran, & Wilson, 2012, p.1507). The results showed that anxiously attached parents experienced lower marital satisfaction during th e transition to parenthood because of the lack of support they get from their partners during that time (Kohn et al., 2012). Family life cycle theory in general is used to understand family transitions and how people adapt and cope with the changes that o ccur during this transition (Claxton & Perry Jenkins, 2008). Claxton and Perry Jenkins (2008) employed family life cycle through the transition to parenthood. This part icular study used the theory to understand romantic relationship. Feminist theory was also used in a number of recent studies on the transition to parenthood. Feminist theo ry focuses on gender inequality in different contexts such as the unequal division of housework based on traditional gender roles during the transition to parenthood (Quek, Kundson Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011). For example, Quek and colleagues (2011) us ed feminist theory and a social constructionist perspective to

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28 investigate gender equality in a traditional society where men are dominant. The social cultural practices. Symbolic Interaction Theory Symbolic interaction theory explains that people interact with the environment around them based on the meaning they give to objects, interactions, and relationships. People learn about the meanings of their surroundings as a result of the interactions with others (Smith & Hamon, 2012). Therefore, people learn the social norms for the society where they live from their interactions with symbols and people (Smith & Hamon, 2012). When symbolic interactionists want to understand and how they identify themselves by the roles they adopt, they look at the societal context and the standards of the society (LaRossa & Reitzes, 1993). Identity theory is a part of symbolic interaction that focuses on how an individual is shaped by the society (White & Klein, 2008). Identities refer to the meaning of oneself for a certain role (LaRossa & Reitzes, 1993). A certain identity of a person may reveal itself depending on the situation (LaRossa & Reitzes, 199 3). The more salie nt the role is the more that a person identifies himself or herself by that role. Another part of theory behavior. People learn about different roles and the meanings of each role from the society they live in (White & Klein, 2008). Then, the person decides which role is more salient, and adopts certain behaviors that are consistent with that role (White & Klein, 2008).

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29 The primary constructs for Symbolic Interactioni sm and Identity Theory are summarize d in the table below . Table 2 1 . Definitions of the theories constructs Constructs Definitions Roles The expectations that accompany certain positions (White & Klein, 2008) Identity Self conception, or what people think about themselves (Smith& Hamon, 2012) Social norms The expected behavior in a particular situation (Smith& Hamon, 2012) Interactio ns How people behave when they communicate with each other (Smith& Hamon, 2012) Symbols The meaning for things around us that result from how people interpret them (Smith& Hamon, 2012) Gender role The associated behaviors and social meanings to the se xes, learned from socialization (Smith& Hamon, 2012) Symbolic interactionism theory and identity theory were used to guide this examination of gender role attitudes and marital satisfaction of Saudi couples during the transition to parenthood . Based on t he review of literature and the theoretical perspectives chosen for this study, the following figure represents the conceptualization of gender roles and marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood for Saudi parents. In addition to the three c omponents, there is a location dimension overarching the figure. Saudi spouses could be residing in the U.S. or in Saudi Arabia; there experience would be expected to differ, based on the context, as the roles and rules of

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30 the resident culture will be diff erent. Then, regarding the top component of the model, family support refers to the assistance provided during the transition to parenthood. It is expected that family support will be greater for spouses living in proximity to parents and in laws who can provide physical care for mother and baby as well as emotional support for the new parents during this time. This greater proximity and corresponding involvement of family members in the lives of new parents may also facilitate the adoption of traditional gender roles by new parents. On the other hand, such support would be less likely to be available when spouses live at a distance from their family, as would be the case for migrants to the U.S. and other countries. Finally, gender roles would be expected to be related to marital satisfaction, depending on the salience of traditional or egalitarian roles in the particular social and cultural context. Where traditional roles are most salient, it would be expected that these attitudes would be associated wit h higher marital satisfaction. Where egalitarian roles are most salient, it would be expected that egalitarian attitudes would be associated with higher marital satisfaction.

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31 Figure 2 1 . The proposed relationship between va riables Research Questions Five research questions were used to guide this research. RQ1 : Are Saudi men and women living in the United States during the transition to parenthood more likely to perceive their gender roles as egalitarian than Saudi men and women living in Saudi Arabia? RQ2 : What is the difference in family support for Saudi men and women in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia during the transition to parenthood? RQ3 : Are gender role attitudes of Saudi men and women during the transition to parentho od affected by family support? RQ4 : What are the differences in marital satisfaction between Saudi men and women living in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia during the transition to parenthood? Family support Assistance provided Gender role attitudes Traditional or egalitarian attitudes Marital satisfaction General happiness in marriage

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32 RQ5 : How do gender role attitudes and family support of Saudi men an d women affect marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood? Hypotheses H1 : Saudi men and women living in the U.S. will hold more egalitarian gender role attitudes during the transition to parenthood than Saudi men and women living in Saudi Ara bia. H2 attitudes. H3 : Saudi men and women living in the US will have less family support during the transition to parenthood than Saudi men and women in Saudi Arabia. H4 : S audi men and women receiving higher levels of family support will hold more traditional gender role attitudes than those receiving less support. H5 : Saudi men and women living in Saudi Arabia will be less satisfied with their marriage than Saudi men and wo men living in the U.S. H6 : More egalitarian gender roles and higher levels of family support will be positively associated with marital satisfaction .

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33 CHAPTER 3 MTHODOLOGY Research Design This study examined differences in gender role attitud es and marital satisfaction of married Saudi men and women during the transition to parenthood, defined as the married men and women residing in Saudi Arabia and the U .S. view their gender roles during the transition to parenthood, the effects of family support on gender role attitudes during the transition, and also the joint impact of gender role attitudes and family support on marital satisfaction. The research desi gn used for this study was explanatory cross sectional, which is followed when the researcher is trying to explain an outcome and to identify the relations between variables. A cross sectional design allows for the measurement of differences between two o r more groups at one point in time (De Vaus, 2001). In this case, the study compared two groups transitioning to parenthood, Saudis living in the U.S. and Saudis living in Saudi Arabia. The sample included Saudi men and women in both locations who were mar ried, but not necessarily to each other, as the research questions did not necessitate locating men and women who were coupled. The explanatory cross sectional research was appropriate for identifying the relations between the variables, gender role attitu des, family support, and marital satisfaction. Data Collection Sample Selection The target population was married Saudi men and women in Saudi Arabia and in the United States transitioning to parenthood; that is, with one child no more than 12

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34 months old. The current study used non probability sampling, which does not give the equal opportunity to everyone in the population to be selected (Wretman, 2010). As suggested by Wretman (2010), in the context of non probability sampling, neither the sampling frame nor representativeness is worthy of a discussion in a traditional sense. Thus, volunteer sampling was the method of sampling that was used to recruit the study sample. To locate the U.S. sample, a link of the questionnaire was posted to Facebook pages fo r Saudi students attending American universities. Most American universities have Saudi student clubs with Facebook pages, and the researcher found them by researching on Facebook, searching Facebook pages to find out where Saudis were enrolled. Those inte rested in participating were able to click on a link directing them to the study. To locate the sample in Saudi Arabia, Al Shaqaiq, a non profit organization that provides workshops and educational classes about marriage for couples before they get marrie d and in the first few years in marriage, sent out a message to list of cell phone numbers they have for people who have attended one or more of their activities. Al Shaqaiq list received a message from the organization that included information about the study and the specific study criteria for participation. Those interested would be able to click on a link directing them to the study. Instrumentation The main variables i n this study were gender role attitudes, family support, and marital satisfaction. This study used a 78 item questionnaire with four sections. The first section tapped demographic characteristics. The next three sections of the questionnaire included three existing, previously tested instruments to measure gender

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35 role attitudes, marital satisfaction, and family support. (See A ppendix for the complete questionnaire.) Demographics. The first section included seven demographic questions asking participants to indicate their sex (male or female); location of their residency (the U.S. or emp loyment status (employed full time, employed part time, or not employed); and number of years married. Participants were also asked to indicate how old their child was in number of months, which was a screening question. The frequencies of the categories o f each demographic question were calculated by the descriptive analysis in SPSS. Gender role attitudes . The Gender Role Attitudes Scale was developed by Zeynelo attitudes. The 38 item scale is divided into five sections of subscales: egalitarian gender role attitudes, female gender roles, marriage gender roles, traditional gender roles, and male gender roles ( Zeynelo extent of their agreement with items on 5 point Likert type scales, where 5 is attitudes; while the lowest score is 38 points, which indicates traditional attitudes. In the current study, this entire scale was not used in the analysis. For this study, only 2 subscales were used: The egalitarian subscale was used for Hypotheses 1 and 6, and

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36 the traditional subscale was used for Hypothesis 4. Please send me the article about the instrument. Marital satisfaction . The Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale was used to measure relationship satisfaction (Busy, Christensen, Crane, & Larson, 1995). This inst rument is based on the original Dyadic Adjustment Scale developed by Spanier (1976) to assess marital quality. The revised scale is a 14 item measure that includes three subscales: dyadic consensus, dyadic satisfaction, and dyadic cohesion. For this scale , the reliability score is high ( = .90). Participants are asked to rate the extent of their agreement with items on 5 point Likert type scales ranging from five to zero, where s one of the question response scales is a 4 point Likert type scale ranging from 4 points this scale ranged from 0 to 69. Higher scores indicate greater satisfaction while lower scores indicated less satisfaction with the marriage. Family support . The Social Support Scale measures the support a parent gets from a variety of sources when raisi ng young children (Dunst, Trivette, & Hamby, 1994). For this scale, the reliability score is high ( = .77). The 18 item scale is divided into five sections of subscales: informal kinship, spouse/partner support, social organizations, formal kinship, and pr ofessional services (Dunst, Trivette, & Hamby, 1994). This instrument uses 5 point Likert

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37 indicates receiving higher family support; while the lowest score is 24 points, which indicates lower family support. Procedure Volunteer participants recruited through Facebook ann ouncements received a participants clicked the link to the study, they immediately viewe d the informed consent statement followed by a check box indicating they understood the study and agreed to participate. If they checked that they agreed to participate, they were directed to an electronic questionnaire composed in Qualtrics. Participants in both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had the option of completing the questionnaire and the consent form in English or Arabic. The 78 item questionnaire was translated from English to Arabic by the researcher. For accuracy, an Algerian Ph.D. student, who teac hes Arabic classes at the University of Florida and is fluent and expert in Arabic and English, checked the translation of the questionnaire and the consent form. The survey instrument could be completed in 20 25 minutes. The research project was reviewe d by the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB), and several changes were made to comply with IRB requirements alifications. Additionally, the IRB required the research to be approved by a Saudi organization that provided a written statement about the appropriateness of the research questions; this was obtained from Al Shaqaiq.

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38 Translation The researcher is a Sau language. The translation of the questionnaire from English to Arabic followed several knowledge of Arabic, and then used Google translate for suggested translations of words that lack parallel meanings in Arabic. Then, the researcher translated each question, not word by word but according to the meaning of the questions to ensure accuracy. The second step involved con sulting an Arab student who speaks both that were suggested. The Algerian instructor of Arabic who ensured the accuracy of the translation also conducted the final revi ew of the questionnaire to ensure that the English and Arabic translations would have the same meaning. Data Analysis Coding Procedures Preparation of data for analysis involved assigning a numerical code to each response (Pallant, 2013). The demographic questions were coded as follows. For the gender question, male was coded as 1 and female as 2. For the location of residency question, Saudi Arabia was coded 1 and the U.S. was coded 2. The answers for the question about length of stay in the U.S. were co ded 1 for less than 1 year, 2 for 1 2 years, and 3 for more than 2 years. For the age question, the category younger than 20 was coded 1, category 20 29 was 2, category 30 39 was 3, category 40 49 was 4, category 50 59 was 5, and category 60 and older was coded 6. For the responses to the question regarding highest level of education completed, the code for high school

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39 length of being married was coded as 1 for less than 3 years, 2 for 3 5 years, 3 for 6 8 years, 4 for 9 11 years, 5 for 12 14 years, and 6 fo r 15 and more years. The analysis procedure required the researcher to collapse numerical responses into the categories identified above. The researcher used the Qualtrics online survey software to create the questionnaire in both Arabic and English. Part icipants accessed the questionnaire by clicking on a link that directed them to Qualtrics website. After data collection, the researcher downloaded all the data in and Excel sheet to clean the data. A total of 275 people responded to an invitation to parti cipate in the survey. The researcher used the screening question that asks the age of the first child. Only 121 cases were used because they passed the screening question asking if they had one child not older than one year old. Participants whose children were older than one year old were eliminated. After cleaning the data, the researcher used the SPSS software package to analyze data. Demographic characteristics were analyzed using descriptive statistics for categorical and numerical variables. This incl uded frequencies for the following: male and female; age; location of residency in the U.S. or Saudi Arabia; highest level of education completed (High School, Bachelor Degree, or Post Graduate); employment status (employed full time, employed part time, o r not employed), and years married.

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40 Mean scores and standard deviations were computed for scales of marital satisfaction, gender role attitudes, and social support. Four, two way analysis of variance between groups (ANOVAs) were conducted to determine th e effect of the independent variables (gender and location of residency), on the dependent variables. First, the two way between groups ANOVA examined the effect of gender and location of residency, on egalitarian gender role attitudes (Hypothesis 1). The second two way between groups ANOVA examined the effect of the length of stay in the U.S., on gender role attitudes (Hypothesis 2). The third two way between groups ANOVA was conducted to determine the effect of gender and location, on the family support ( Hypothesis 3). The forth two way between groups ANOVA was conducted to examine the effect of gender and location, on marital satisfaction (Hypothesis 5). A statistical test of association among variables, the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient , was conducted to examine the strength and the direction of the relations between variables proposed in Hypothesis 4 and Hypothesis 6. A Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was computed to assess the relations among all three dependent variable s in this study, gender role attitudes, family support, and marital satisfaction (Hypothesis 6).

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41 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This study examined gender role attitudes and marital satisfaction of Saudi men and women during the transition to parenthood. The purpose of the study was to better understand how married Saudis residing in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. view their gender roles during the transition to parenthood, and also the joint impact of gender role attitudes and family support on marital satisfaction. In th is chapter, the study results will be presented. This includes a comparison of Saudi married men and women who live in the United States and Saudi Arabia during the transition to parenthood, focusing specifically on their view of gender roles as well as ma rital satisfaction, the effect of family support on gender attitudes during the transition to parenthood, and the joint impact of gender role attitudes and family support on marital satisfaction. The newest version of the IBM SPSS software package was use d to analyze the data (Survival manual, version 22). Descriptive statistics were used to obtain frequency distributions of the demographic characteristics of the sample. To determine differences between groups, the two way analysis of variance (ANOVA) betw een groups was used. ANOVA was used to test four hypotheses that required tests of the effects of two independent variables on the dependent variable (Pallant, 2013, p. 274). In addition, the Pearson product moment correlation ( r ), which helps to describe the strength and the direction of the relationship between two variables, was used to test two hypotheses (Pallant, 2013, p. 133).

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42 Demographic Characteristics A total of 121 people of Saudi origin were in the final sample. The majority of participants, 60 .3% (n=73), were women, while about 40% (n=48) were men. Nearly half of the participants, 48.8 % (n=59), lived in Saudi Arabia, while just over half, 51.2% (n=62), lived in the United States. However, most of the women in the study, over two thirds, 65.7%, n=48, lived in Saudi Arabia, while just over one third, 34.2%, n=25, lived in the U.S. In contrast, most of the men, 77% (n=37), resided in the U.S., while 22.9% (n=11), lived in Saudi Arabia. Table 4 1 shows the distribution of the sample and of men an d women living in the United States from less than one year to more than three years. For men and women combined, 12.4% of those living in the U.S. had lived in the country for less than one year. About a third of men had lived in the U.S. less than one ye ar (32.4%, n=12), and this was true of 12% (n=3) of women. Fourteen Saudis had been living in U.S. from one to two years; this was true for 24.3% (n=9) of men; and 32% (n=9) of women. Also, 24.8% had been living In the U.S. for more than 2 years; 43.2% (n= 16) of men and 56% (n=14) of women. Table 4 1. Summary of the length of stay in U.S. at the time of the study The length of stay in U.S. Women (%, n) Men (%, n) Less than 1 year 12 3 32.4 12 1 2 years 32 8 24.3 9 More than 2 years 56 14 43.2 16 Total 100 25 99.9 37 The average age of the sample was 28 years old; on the average, women were younger than men. The average for women was 27 and for men was 29 .As shown in Table 4 2, most participants were concentrated in the 20 29 (67.8%, n=82) and 30 39

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43 (28.1%, n=34) age ranges. Two participants (1.7%) were younger than 20 years of age, and three (2.5%) participants were in their forties. Following is a table that shows the distribution of age for both men and women. Table 4 2. Age range for men and wome n Residency/ Age group Women (%, n) Men (%, n) Saudi Arabia Younger than 20 2.1 1 0 0 20 29 72.9 35 54.3 6 30 39 22.9 11 27.3 3 40 49 2.1 1 18.2 2 Total 100 48 100 11 U.S. Younger than 20 4 1 0 0 20 29 72 18 62.2 23 30 39 24 6 37.8 14 40 49 0 0 0 0 Total 100 25 100 37 As shown in Table 4 47.9% (n=58), with 33.3% of men (n=16) and 57.5% (n=42) of women having selected a 2.1% (n=51), of the sample had post graduate education, with 56.3% (n=27) of men and 32.9% (n=24) of women having advanced degrees. About 10% had completed high school as their highest educational level (9.9%, n=12), with approximately the same portion of men and women indicating this was their highest education, 10.4% (n=5) and 9.6% (n=7), respectively. Table 4 3 also shows the highest education level completed for the total sample and for men and women.

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44 Table 4 3. Highest education level for sample, m en and women Highest education level completed Sample (%, n) Women (%, n) Men (%, n) High school 10 12 9.6 7 10.4 5 47.9 58 57.5 43 33.3 16 Post graduate degree 42.1 51 32.9 24 56.3 27 Total 100 121 100 74 100 48 The analyses for em ployment status found that just over half of the participants were employed full time 51.2% (n=62). A larger proportion of men than women worked full time, 77.1% (n=37) of men compared to 34.2% (n=25) of women. Just 5.8% (n=7) of the participants were empl oyed part time, with women representing the majority of part time workers, 8.2% (n=6) compared to 2.1% (n=1) of men. Similarly, of the 43% of the sample participants (n=52) that were not employed, the large majority were women -57.5% (n=42) compared to 20 .8% (n=10) of men. Table 4 4 shows the number of years men and women were married by age category. Of the entire sample, 23% (n=28) were married less than three years; this was 27.1% (n=13) of men and 20.5% (n=15) of women. Another 43% (n=52) of all partic ipants were married for three to five years; this was 45.8% (n=22) of men and 41.1% (n=30) of women. Thus, about three fourths of the sample was married five years or less. Twenty participants (16.5%) were married for six to eight years, 16.7% (n=8) of men and 16.4% (n=12) of women. When looking at marriage for nine to eleven years, 9.1% (11) of the participants were married for that duration; this was true for 4.2% (n=2) of men and 12.3% of (n=9). For 12 to 14 years, 5.8% (n=7) were married for this durati on; this was true for 4.2% (n= 2) of men and 6.8%, (n=5) of women. Finally, 2.5%

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45 (n=3) participants were married for 15 years or more; 2.1% (n=1) for men and 2.7%, (n=2) for women. Table 4 4. Years married for sample, men, and women Years married Sample ( %, n) Women (%, n) Men (%, n) Less than 3 23 28 20.5 15 27.1 13 3 5 years 43 52 41.1 30 45.8 22 6 8 years 16.5 20 16.4 12 16.7 8 9 11 years 9.1 11 12.3 9 4.2 2 12 14 years 5.8 7 6.8 5 4.2 2 15 years and more Total 2.5 99.9 3 121 2.7 99 .8 2 73 2.1 100.1 1 48 Statistical Analyses of Marital Satisfaction, Gender Role Attitudes, and Family Support Basic descriptive statistics were computed to describe all three variables in this study, gender roles attitudes, marital satisfactio n, and family support. These results are presented in the first section below. The results of analyses testing the study hypotheses are presented in the second section below. Descriptive Statistics Table 4 5 presents the descriptive statistics for each s tudy variable, by gender. There were 121 participants that answered the questions for the marital satisfaction scale. The total possible score on the marital satisfaction scale was 69. As shown in Table 4 5, for this sample the mean was 45.14, and the stan dard deviation, which represents the extent of variation within the group, was 4.807. Women scored somewhat higher than men on marital satisfaction (45.44 and 44.69, respectively). The total possible score for the gender role attitudes scale is 190. Again 121 participants answered the questions in this scale. The mean score for the sample was 109.88; the standard deviation was16.707. On average, women scored somewhat higher than men on the measure of gender role attitudes (111.45 for women and 107.48 for me n),

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46 indicating a higher level of egalitarianism. To test the study hypotheses, the egalitarian and traditional subscales of the measure of gender role attitudes were used. The total possible score for the egalitarian gender role attitudes subscale was 40 ( 8 items with 5 the highest possible rating), with a higher number indicating higher egalitarianism. The average score for the sample was 15.52; with a standard deviation of 4.122. On average, men scored somewhat higher than women ( 17.041 for men and 14.60 2 for women) , indicating they held more egalitarian beliefs . The total possible score on the traditional gender role attitudes subscale was 40 (8 items with 5 the highest possible rating), with lower scores indicating higher traditionalism. On average, me n scored somewhat lower than women on this measure of traditionalism (20.395 for men and 22.712 for women, respectively), indicating that men held somewhat more traditional beliefs. The total possible score for the measure of family support was 77. There were 121 participants that answered the questions in this scale. The mean family support score for the sample was 47.22; and the standard deviation was 13.670. Men scored higher than women on the measure of family support (49.15 and 45.96, respectively), i ndicating that men perceived higher levels of family support than women.

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47 Table 4 5. The descriptive statistics for each of the study variables by gender Variables/ Gender Mean Standard Deviation N Marital Satisfaction 45.14 4.807 121 Men 44.69 5. 276 48 Women 45.44 4.484 73 Gender role Attitude 109.88 16.707 121 Men 107.48 15.963 48 Women 111.45 17.265 73 Egalitarian Subscale 15.5702 4.122 121 Men 17.0417 4.658 48 Women 14.602 3.420 73 Traditional Subscale 21.793 5.631 121 Men 20.395 5.378 48 Women 22.712 5.640 73 Family Support 47.22 13.670 121 Men 49.15 13.912 48 Women 45.96 13.455 73 Table 4 6 shows the basic descriptive statistics for each of the study variables, with the location of the subsamples included. Referring to the mean scores for the study variables listed in the second column, on average, there was virtually no difference in marital satisfaction between the two locations, and very little difference in overall gender role attitudes, although on average the U.S. sample he ld somewhat higher egalitarian beliefs overall. For the specific subscales, however, those in Saudi Arabia were, on average, higher on egalitarianism and traditionalism .

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48 Table 4 6. The descriptive statistics for each of the study variables by location V ariable/ Country Mean Standard Deviation N Marital Satisfaction 45.14 4.807 121 Saudi Arabia 45.15 4.627 59 U.S. 45.13 5.010 62 Gender Role Attitudes 109.88 16.707 121 Saudi Arabia 109.37 15.089 59 U.S. 110.35 18.224 62 Egalitarian Subscale 15.570 4 .122 121 Saudi Arabia 16.203 4.172 59 U.S. 14.967 4.016 62 Traditional Subscale 21.793 5.631 121 Saudi Arabia 20.846 5.511 59 U.S. 22.693 5.641 62 Family Support 47.22 13.670 121 Saudi Arabia 46.64 12.892 59 U.S. 47.77 14.456 62 Statistical Analy ses of Study Hypotheses The section presents the results of tests of each hypothesis. Under each hypothesis, there is an explanation of the test. Hypothesis 1 : Saudi men and women living in the U.S. will hold more egalitarian gender role attitudes during the transition to parenthood than Saudi men and women living in Saudi Arabia during the transition to parenthood. A two way between groups analysis of variance (men and women) was conducted to examine the effect of gender and location of the participants on the extent to which participants agreed with egalitarian gender role attitudes. The egalitarian gender role subscale of the gender role attitudes scale was used. There was a statistically significant effect of gender F (1,117) =19.562, p = .0005. In add ition, the effect of location was statistically significant, F (1,117) = 10.866, p = .001. The test of the interaction effects between gender and location was not significant, F (1,117) =. 076, p =. 241.

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49 The result from the ANOVA showed a significant diffe rence in gender role attitudes between Saudi spouses who lived in the United States and Saudi spouses who lived in Saudi Arabia. Surprisingly, the results showed that Saudi spouses who lived in Saudi Arabia held more egalitarian gender role attitudes than Saudi spouses who lived in the United States. Thus, the results did not support the first hypothesis for the first research question. Moreover, gender did not moderate the effect of location on gender role attitudes since there was no interaction effect be tween gender and location. Hypothesis 2 gender role attitudes. A two way between groups analysis of variance was conducted to examine the ed States on gender role attitudes of Saudi men and women during the transition to parenthood. The gender role attitudes of the participants were measured by using the gender role scale. The effect of the length of stay in the United States on gender role attitudes did not reach statistical significance, F (2, 59) =. 796, p = .456. The previous test revealed no significant differences in gender role attitudes between Saudi men and women who lived in the United States for a longer time, and Saudi men and wo men who lived in the U.S. for a shorter time. Thus, the second hypothesis for the first research question was not supported. Hypothesis 3 : Saudi men and women living in the U.S. will have less family support during the transition to parenthood than those living in Saudi Arabia. A two way analysis of variance between groups was conducted to examine the

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50 couples during the transition to parenthood. Family support was mea sured by using the social support scale. There was no statistically significant effect of gender, F (1,117) =. 931, p =. 337 on family support; and there was no significant effect of location on family support, F (1,117) =. 019, p =. 892. The interaction eff ect between gender and location was not significant, F (1,117) = .436, p = .510. The results show that there were no significant differences in family support for men and women residing in Saudi Arabia and similar men and women residing in the United Sta tes. This means that residing in Saudi Arabia or residing in the United States did not affect the amount of family support that Saudi men and women received from their families. Therefore, this hypothesis was not supported. Hypothesis 3 was also tested us ing a subscale of the family support scale, Spouse Support. A two way between groups analysis of variance was conducted to spouse support of Saudi couples during the transit ion to parenthood. There was a statistically significant effect of location, F (1,117) = 7.510, p =. 007. This means that Saudi men and women residing in the U.S. received more support from their spouses than men and women residing in Saudi Arabia. Hypoth esis 4 : Men and women receiving higher levels of family support will hold more traditional gender role attitudes than those receiving less support. A Pearson product moment correlation analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between the two var iables, family support and traditional gender role attitudes. However, no significant correlation was found between the two variables, r (119) = .004, p =. 482. These results meant that receiving family support was not

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51 associated with the traditional gender roles of Saudi men and women. Therefore, Hypothesis 4 was not supported. Hypothesis 5: Saudi men and women living in Saudi Arabia will be less satisfied with their marriages than those living in the U.S. A two way between groups analysis of variance wa s conducted to examine the satisfaction was measured by using the dyadic satisfaction sub scale, which is a subscale of the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale. There was not a statistically significant effect of gender on marital satisfaction, F (1,117)= .086, p =. 770. However, the effect of location was statistically significant, F (1,117)= 4.137 , p =. 044. The interaction effect between gender and location was not significant, F (1,117) = 2.356, p = .127. The previous tests revealed a difference in marital satisfaction between Saudi men and women residing in the United States and Saudi men and wo men residing in Saudi Arabia. Saudi men and women residing in the United States were more satisfied with their marriages than Saudi men and women residing in Saudi Arabia Hypothesis 6 : More egalitarian gender roles and higher levels of family support will be positively associated with marital satisfaction. Pearson product moment correlation analysis was conducted to examine the relations between egalitarian gender role attitudes and marital satisfaction, and family support and marital satisfaction. No sig nificant correlation was found between marital satisfaction and egalitarian gender role attitudes, Pearson r (119)= .004, p = .480.

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52 Although there was a small positive correlation between marital satisfaction and family support (Pearson r (119) =. 074), th is did not reach significance ( p =. 210). Because the results showed a non significant positive correlation between marital satisfaction and egalitarian gender role attitudes, and between marital satisfaction and family support, this hypothesis was not supp orted.

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53 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION This study examined gender role attitudes and marital satisfaction of Saudi men and women during the transition to parenthood. The purpose was to better understand how married Saudis residing in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. view their gender roles during the transition to parenthood, the effects of family support on gender role attitudes during the transition, and the joint impact of gender role attitudes and family support on marital satisfaction. These areas of s tudy, gender role attitudes and marital satisfaction, have emerged as major themes in the existing research on the transition to parenthood. Studies of U.S. couples during the transition have shown that during the transition to parenthood, men and women go through psychological changes, one of which is gender role attitudes; typically new parents become more traditional in their attitudes after childbirth (Katz Wise, Priess, & Hyde, 2010). As for marital satisfaction, most of the research in this area found that people report lower marital satisfaction as well as higher marital conflict after the birth of the first child (Belsky & Kelly, 1994). These themes are especially relevant and important to this study because Saudi society has been through major shif ts in gender roles since the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia in 1938, yet gender roles also remain contested (Jamjoom & Smith Spark, 2013). The discovery of oil prompted the entry of women into the labor force to fill labor shortages, and a growing empha sis on education for women and girls, not only for purposes of employment but for the overall development and advancement of Saudi society. In recent years, as higher education has become more accessible to women, increasing numbers of women have pursued a dvanced degrees, and a norm of higher education for women has been established in Saudi society . However, there is very little

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54 research on changing gender roles in Saudi Arabia and virtually no studies of how gender role attitudes might be related to marit al satisfaction. Little is known about Saudi families in general, or more specifically how men and women view their gender roles in this changing societal context. cornerstone of Saudi Arabian society, and women are expected to fulfill their traditional roles for maintaining marriage and family. Marriage has tremendous philosophical and religious importance of the Saudi culture. Every effort must be made to promote healthy, hap being of the larger society. From the point of view of the collectivist Saudi society, happier marriages and peaceful families will produce more productive individuals, which ends up b ettering the society; and uplifting the family means uplifting the entire society. However, the transition to parenthood introduces an important change in the marriage that has the potential to affect the marriage negatively. One factor that is often overl ooked in the literature on couples in the U.S. is how the availability of family support to assist the mother and the couple might ease the strains of the transition to parenthood. In Saudi Arabia, this support is the norm, as easing any difficulties keeps the new mother and baby healthy and helps stabilize the couple by reducing strains and preventing stress duty to help. Typically, the new in ome for almost 6 weeks to do housework, help with the child care, and cook traditional food for the nursing mother. In some families, the new mother would go to her family house after leaving the hospital after childbirth and stay there as long as she feel s tired or sick. This is the norm

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55 in all regions of Saudi Arabia. The new mother would also get help from women relatives and friends. In contrast, new Saudi mothers living in the U.S. most likely will not have this level of support. This study, by introdu cing a comparison of Saudi parents in Saudi Arabia and in the U.S., could determine whether having less support (expected for those in the U.S.) negatively impacted marital satisfaction. In addition, identifying if and how family support helps Saudi parent s could be beneficial in educational programs aimed at improving family life. In the next sections of this chapter, the results will be discussed, including explanations for the sometimes surprising results. Unexpected findings are framed and interpreted in reference to the scant related literature and the possible limitations of this theory, research, and practice discussed in the final sections of the chapter. It is t he and expose areas of study that, once examined, will lead to a greater understanding of Saudi couples as they negotiate gender roles during the transition to parenthood. Gender Roles This research examined whether Saudi men and women living in the United States during the transition to parenthood were more likely to perceive their gender roles as egalitarian than similar men and women living in Saudi Arabia. It was expe cted that Saudi men and women residing in the U.S. during the transition to parenthood would hold more egalitarian gender role attitudes than their counterparts in Saudi Arabia because of their greater exposure to American egalitarian gender roles at the t ime of the transition to parenthood. Contrary to these expectations, the results of the between -

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56 groups ANOVA showed that Saudi men and women living in Saudi Arabia held more egalitarian gender role attitudes than Saudi men and women living in the U.S., and longer exposure due to longer residency in the U.S. did not change gender role attitudes toward a more egalitarian direction. One possible explanation is the rapid increase in educational opportunities at all levels for girls and women (Metz, 1992; Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, 2006), as increased education is commonly associated with more egalitarian gender roles (Judge & Livingston, 2008). As in other countries, Saudi Arabian men with more educated wives may also be more likely to hold more egalitarian views of gender roles. Within 30 years after nonreligious primary education was extended to girls as well as boys in Saudi Arabia, both genders were similarly represented at the elementary, intermediate, and secondary levels (Metz, 1992; Saudi Arabian Cul tural Mission, 2006). At the secondary level, women excelled academically, and within 13 years (1975 to 1988), had increased their graduation rates tenfold (Metz, 1992). Furthermore, women outpaced men in the number of graduates, despite lower numbers of w omen entering secondary schools (Metz, 1992). Similarly, in higher education, women represented 58.55% of enrolled students in 2004, and 58% of graduates of institutions of higher education (Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, 2006). There are caveats: Illit eracy rates among women remain high (Roudi Fahimi & Moghadam, 2003 ) . Nevertheless, thousands of Saudi women are receiving advanced degrees in a variety of profe ssions. egalitarian gender roles, the case remains that Saudis in the U.S. display lower levels of egalitarianism than their counterparts in Saudi Arabia. Previous research on immigran t

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57 couples in the U.S. on short term visas for study or work may shed some light. A study of Chinese international students (Zhang, Smith, Swisher, Fu, & Fogarty, 2011) found gender role changes that differ from traditional Chinese gender roles, but gradually adopted new egalitarian gender roles to fit the new U.S. context (p.537). Possibly, the same is true for Saudis in the U.S., as they adhere to traditions to find s ome sense of familiarity in the very different U.S. cultural context. Also, Saudis in the U.S. have to rely on each other during the transition to parenthood, and out of necessity may fall into more traditional patterns to get things done. In contrast, Sa udis living in the peninsula have more help from their immediate and extended family members who assume much of the infant care after birth. It was also expected that the longer Saudi men and women had lived in the U.S., the more egalitarian their attitud es would be. Presumably, their longer exposure and adjustment to American culture would be associated with higher scores on egalitarian gender roles. These expectations follow previous research that examined the change in attitudes toward gender role equa lity between first and second generation Turkish immigrants to Germany and to a sample of native born Germans (Diehl, Koening & Ruckdeschel, 2009). While both Turkish groups held more conservative gender roles attitudes than Germans, the attitudes of the s econd generation were less conservative than the first generation (Diehl, Koening & Ruckdeschel, 2009), suggesting that length of stay in a country with more egalitarian values affected attitudes toward gender role equality. However, the results of the pre sent study showed that the length of stay in the United States did not affect gender role attitudes of Saudi men and women. An

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58 important difference between this research and the Turkish study is that most of the participants in the present study were stud ents with scholarships from the Saudi government for attending a U.S. university, not permanent or long term immigrants to the U.S. Thus, longer term changes in gender role attitudes may not be able to be observed in the given study time frame. There may be something unique about the temporary and purposeful international student experience with regard to gender role changes, as discussed by Zhang and colleagues (2011). Unfortunately, there are very few studies about international student experiences in th e U.S., particularly students from Arab nations attending American universities. Family Support The Figure presented in the Chapter 2 Literature Review conveys the central role that family support plays in Saudi culture, and the expectation that this sup port will be related to marital satisfaction. The role of the family in Saudi life cannot be understated. The family has long been the basic institution of Saudi society, intricately woven into the fabric of daily life, religious observances, culture, and economic activity (Metz, 1992). A recent study constructed a quantitative system of scoring the strength of family ties in 81 countries (Alesina & Giuliano, 2010); Saudi Arabia was among the top 15 countries. And, even as the nuclear family becomes more common in Saudi Arabia, extended family ties remain strong (Al Khateeb, 2008). Typically, expectant and new parents receive hands on and emotional support from their parents, siblings, and extended family during the transition to parenthood. However, Sau di parents living in the U.S. would not have access to these built in networks. They might not be well integrated into their local communities due to their transient status and therefore not know about formal resources that might substitute for

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59 informal ne tworks. The considerable distance to the U.S. and difficulties of traveling abroad (e.g., obtaining visas, the cost of purchasing air fare, and so on) along with family obligations at home, might deter family members from traveling to the U.S., thus depriv ing Saudis of important sources of support in the days and weeks after childbirth. Unexpectedly, there were no differences in perceptions of overall social support. Saudi participants living in the U.S. were just as likely to say they received support as those residing in Saudi Arabia. However, this may well be explained by the limitations of the instrument used to measure perceived support. The scale tapped perceptions of overall support from a variety of sources, from formal community level resources to immediate family support; this may very well obscure differences in the two groups by the specific types of supports. To provide a clearer comparison, differences on each subscale were examined. For the subscale measuring perceptions of support provided by the spouse, residents of the U.S. scored higher on their perceptions of support from their spouses. Thus, in Saudi Arabia, being around other family members and getting support from everyone else could explain the lack of spousal support, while without this extended family support, Saudi men and women residing in the U.S. relied on each other, and scored higher when measuring the subscale spousal support. Perceived Family Support and Gender Role Attitudes This study also asked whether family support aff attitudes during the transition to parenthood. I expected that those who received higher levels of family support would report holding more traditional gender role attitudes than those saying they received less support. However, a ccording to the results of this study, there was no correlation between the variables, or no relation between perceived family support and traditional gender role attitudes for Saudi men and women. For the

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60 subscale measuring perceptions of support provided by the spouse, surprisingly, the results showed as spousal support increased, Saudi men and women showed less egalitarian gender role attitudes. As spousal support decreased, Saudi men and women showed more egalitarian gender role attitudes. Marital Satis faction As explained in the literature review, previous studies of the transition to parenthood have found lower levels of marital satisfaction during this period. In this study, it was expected that Saudis living in Saudi Arabia would be less satisfied with their marriages during the transition to parenthood than their counterparts in the U.S. This was expected because it was assumed that Saudi men and women in the U.S. would hold higher egalitarian gender role attitudes, and that higher egalitarian gend er roles would be associated with higher marital satisfaction. The results showed a difference in the expected direction. Saudi men and women residing in the United States were more satisfied with their marriages than Saudi men and women residing in Saudi Arabia. One possible explanation for higher levels of satisfaction among Saudi men and women residing in the United States than those residing in Saudi Arabia is that the role of the couple is more salient in the U.S., as predicted by the theoretical fram ework. Presumably, Saudis in the U.S. who are separated from larger kin networks would focus their attention and energy on their roles as husbands and wives. Their other family roles as sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters, which are especially importan t in the Saudi kin network, became less prominent. Thus, spouses could give more attention, time, and effort to their marital relationship and this in turn would lead to higher marital satisfaction. A previous study that examined the marital satisfaction o f Chinese students

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61 in United States showed that wives felt closer to their husband after they moved to the United States, and none of the wives were unhappy in their marriages (Zhang, Smith, Swisher, Fu, & Fogarty, 2011). Gender Role Attitudes, Family Supp ort, and Marital Satisfaction This study looked at the relations among gender role attitudes, perceived family support, and marital satisfaction during the transition to parenthood. I expected that higher scores on egalitarian gender role attitudes and hig her levels of family support would be positively correlated with marital satisfaction. However, there were no significant positive correlations between marital satisfaction and egalitarian gender role attitudes. Limitations The most important limitation o f this study was using the imputation technique for missing data. This involves calculating the mean scores for non missing data and substituting the means for missing data (Allison, 2003). Using imputation is considered a limitation because it could cause underestimating of variances as well as overestimating of correlations (Little & Rubin, 1987). In this study, imputation was used because it was a solution for the missing data in cases where one or two answers were missing from the responses to the entir e questionnaire. All participants answered almost all the questions, expect one participant who stopped in the middle of the questionnaire, whose questionnaire was then eliminated. Another limitation of the study was the use of multiple campus Facebook p ages to locate the study sample of Saudi students. This method was used when the original plan had to be revised. Based on conversations with the Saudi cultural mission in the U.S., the researcher was expecting to be able to have access to Saudi students t hrough

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62 number of students because most receive some kind of help through the page by getting answers about their questions and concerns. A lot of the Saudi students in the U.S. follow the page of the cultural mission because the mission regularly posts updates that concern Saudi students. Unfortunately, the mission objected to the questions on sexual beliefs and would not post the questionnaire unless those items were elimi nated. Because the researcher intended to keep the instrument intact, it was necessary to find an alternative means of contacting Saudi students. Fortunately and unexpectedly, the new strategy ended up being beneficial in some ways because many people resp onded to requests to participate, and they were from different universities all over the U.S. Another important limitation of this study is the sample size, particularly the limited number of male participants. While the overall number of participants wa s good (n=121), the number of male participants in Saudi Arabia was very small (n= 11) compared to male participants in the U.S. (n=37). Additionally, some of the participants used the comments section on Facebook pages to express resentment about the some of the questions in the questionnaire; this could have discouraged others from participating. Some people did not like answering questions about their sexual lives with their partners. A possible bias of the study is the higher educational level of the participants, particularly in the U.S. Since most of the U.S. participants were working on advanced degrees, their answers to the questionnaire could be more open minded and less conservative than other participants back in Saudi Arabia. That is important because

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63 participants in Saudi Arabia represented all educational level while participants in the U.S. did not. Theoretical Implications According to Symbolic interaction theory, individuals live in a world they have created out of meanings they assign to things and situations. The concept of meanings refers to how the individual looks at events, people and roles; in other words, how the actor perceives and interprets the situation. The theory emphasizes that human behavior cannot be understood without firs t understanding the meanings an individual attributes to a given situation (White & Klein, 2008). Symbolic interaction theory suggests that people learn social norms from interacting with their surroundings, including people and symbols (Smith & Hamon, 201 2). People develop meanings not of their own will, but based on society, particularly through their interactions, where they learn the rules and values of society. Identity is a concept that is part of symbolic interactionism, but which also has spun off into a mini theory within the symbolic interaction framework (White & Klein, 2008). There, the focus is on salience an individual places on the multiple roles that are part of her or his identity (White & Klein, 2008). Another part of this theory is the 2008, p. 103). This means that he or she summons a particular role identity depending on the salience of the identity at a given time or situation. In this study, the symbolic interaction framework was chosen as a guiding theory. This theory helps explain how people react to a certain situation according to the meaning they have that they gain from interacting with others, symbols, and the environment. In addition, people are influenced by the cultural norms.

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64 The theory helps to explain the unexpected findings of higher scores on egalitarian gender role attitudes among men and women residing in Saudi Arabia than ituation depends on their personal experience which is either shaped by interacting with the environment around them or influenced by the social norms. Identity theory can be used to explain why Saudi men and women residing in the U.S. reported a higher l evel of marital satisfaction than Saudis residing in Saudi Arabia. Saudi men and women residing in both countries have their roles as students or employees, but the focus here is other social roles they play with in the family. Symbolic interactionism wou ld focus attention on the meanings social actors assign to a situation; these meanings would be expected to vary depending on social expectations (norms) conveyed through interactions with that society. Thus, we would expect differences in perceptions of g ender roles, marital satisfaction, and social support as the social and cultural context, and associated interactions communicating norms, changes. Furthermore, the salience of particular roles would be expected to vary, depending on the importance of the role at that time, in that context. This may be most apparent in the higher scores on marital satisfaction for Saudis living in the U.S. away from their families and their multiple roles as husbands or wives, sons or daughters, brothers or sisters; they are in a position where their roles as husbands and wives are most salient. In fact, the meaning of being a spouse may be different in the U.S. cultural context, as the marital relationship, rather than extended family, is central to family life. The rese archer believes that spouses in the U.S. are able to focus more time and attention on the marital relationship instead of being distracted

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65 by other roles. Furthermore, during the transition to parenthood, they must depend on each other because they typica lly do not have the support of mothers, mothers in law, and sisters, as they would in Saudi Arabia after childbirth. In fact, in Saudi Arabia it is more likely that husbands will have some distance from their wife after childbirth because it is the role of women in the extended family, rather than fathers, to support the wife after childbirth. Implications for Interventions and Future Research The findings of this research are relevant for several reasons. First, in the globalizing world, this study ope ned up discussion of Saudi family experiences in general, as well as the transition to parenthood, adding to a scholarly family literature that is devoid of this information. Offering a comparative perspective and cross cultural results, the study findings point out the importance of location of residency, and associated gender roles, to family experiences, drawing attention to the different experiences of international students in the U.S., including those with families; these experiences that have seldom been examined. A better understanding of how they cope, especially with stressful life events, is worthy of further research and may be relevant to other temporary immigrant groups. Additionally, it is relevant to university programs that support internati onal students. Interventions targeted at international students having their first child could be useful to parents in helping them prepare for well documented changes. As mentioned in the introduction, the transition to parenthood is a stressful period for both parents because changes in gender roles and marital satisfaction often take place. The findings of Schulz, Cowan, and Cowan (2006) supported the evidence accumulated from other research studies documenting declines in marital satisfaction

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66 after th e birth of first child. However, attending group interventions for 24 weeks significantly reduced the decline in marital satisfaction for men and women (Schulz, over the lo Cowan, &Cowan, 2006, p.27). Thus, one of the implications of this study is to suggest that intervention programs target both mothers and fathers, possibly from the third trimester t o one year postpartum. These intervention programs could discuss various topics that will affect mothers and fathers such as new responsibilities, expectations of each partner for who will take care of the infant and effective communication skills. Such in terventions could be targeted at Saudi men and women in Saudi Arabia since the results showed that they have lower marital satisfaction than Saudis in the U.S. In the process of writing the literature review, it was difficult to find any research articles on Saudi couples, even in Arabic. The few studies that existed focused on women and changes in gender roles, such as rapid changes in the Saudi educational research was found abo ut Saudi men, raising another possible topic for future research on changing Saudi families. In addition, future research could focus on that factors that contribute to higher egalitarian gender role attitudes among Saudi men and women rather than Saudi me n and women in U.S. Because there is so little information available on Saudi families, the literature might benefit from qualitative research about the transition to parenthood based on in depth interviews to gain more information about gender role atti tudes of Saudi men and women in general and specifically during the transition to parenthood. Furthermore, one

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67 of the limitations of this study was that it was based on individuals rather than the couple unit. Future research might study couples rather tha n married men and women. In summary, the transition to parenthood is a critical time that all couples who decide to have children experience. Although it can be joyful, this time may also be stressful for both parents due to the new roles that they play. People in different cultures may experience the transition differently. In collectivistic societies, people tend to adopt traditional gender roles while in individualistic societies people tend to adopt more egalitarian gender roles (Quek, Kundson Martin, Orpen, & Victor, 2011). Contrary to the small number of studies that do exist, the results of this study showed that people in a collectivistic society, Saudi Arabia, held egalitarian gender role attitudes. More studies about Saudi men and women mean more understanding for Saudi family, a valuable component of the Saudi society.

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68 APPENDIX QUESTIONNAIRE Please answer the following questions if you have one child no older than one year old Instructions: Please answer the following questions 1. What is y our gender? Male female 2. Where do you live? Saudi Arabia The United States 3. If you live in the United States, How long have you been here? Blank to enter their answers in months 4. How old are you? Blank to enter their ages 5. What is your educational level? High School Bachelor Higher Education 6. What is your employment status? Employee full time Employee part time Not employed 7. How many years have you been married? Blank to enter their answers in years and month s 8. How old is your child? Blank to enter their answers in months Most persons have disagreements in their relationships. Please indicate below the approximate extent of agreement or disagreement between you and your partner for each item on the following list. Alway s Agree Almos t Alway s Agree Occasionall y Agree Frequentl y Disagree Almost Always Disagre e Always Disagre e 9. Religion matters 5 4 3 2 1 0 10. Demonstration s of affection 5 4 3 2 1 0 11. Making major decisions 5 4 3 2 1 0 12. Sex relations 5 4 3 2 1 0 13. Conventionalit 5 4 3 2 1 0

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69 y (correct or proper behavior) 14. Career decisions 5 4 3 2 1 0 Please choose the answer that accurately represents you All the Time Most of the Time More often than Not Occasionally Rarely Never 15. How oft en do you discuss or have considered divorce, separation, or terminating your relationship? 0 1 2 3 4 5 16. How often do you and your partner quarrel? 0 1 2 3 4 5 17. Do you ever regret that you married (or lived together? 0 1 2 3 4 5 18. How often do y ou or 0 1 2 3 4 5 Everyday Almost everyday Occasionally Rarely Never 19. Do you and your mate engage in outside interests together? 4 3 2 1 0 How often would you say the following events occur between you a nd your mate? Never Less than Once a Month Once or Twice a Month Once or Twice a Week Once a Day More Often

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70 20. Have a stimulating exchanging of Ideas? 0 1 2 3 4 5 21. Work together in a Project? 0 1 2 3 4 5 22. Calmly discuss something? 0 1 2 3 4 5 Please choose the answers that represent your opinion Completel y Agree Agree Undecide d Disagre e Absolutel y Disagree 23. Decision to have a child should made by both spouses in a marriage 5 4 3 2 1 24. Equal fee should be paid to women and men in profes sional life 5 4 3 2 1 25. Widowed women should be able to live by her self 5 4 3 2 1 26. Assets should be shared equally when spouses divorce 5 4 3 2 1 27. Equal chances should be enabled to women and men for professional development 5 4 3 2 1 28. Dome stic work should be shared equally between spouses in the family 5 4 3 2 1 29. Daughters and sons should be benefited 5 4 3 2 1

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71 economical means 30. Spouses decides together in the family 5 4 3 2 1 31. A woman should experience sexual encounter after they are married. 5 4 3 2 1 32. The future wife of a man should be a virgin. 5 4 3 2 1 33. Girls can be able to live by themselves when they gain their economical freedom. 5 4 3 2 1 34. A woman should be able to go out by herself at night. 5 4 3 2 1 35. A woman should consult a woman doctor in the hospital. 5 4 3 2 1 36. Families should allow girls to flirt. 5 4 3 2 1 37. The last decision regarding the choice of her husband should be made by her father. 5 4 3 2 1 38. A woman task is motherhood. 5 4 3 2 1 on a wife should be regarded as normal 5 4 3 2 1 40. Every wish of the man should be realized at home. 5 4 3 2 1 41. Man should marry again if the woman is not able to deliver a 5 4 3 2 1

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72 child. 42. A woman should reject sexual encounter in marriages if she does not desire it. 5 4 3 2 1 43. Husbands should make the decisions 5 4 3 2 1 44. Contraception in marriages should be responsibility of only woman 5 4 3 2 1 4 5. A woman is considered more precious if she delivers a boy. 5 4 3 2 1 46. Woman should prefer to remain silent instead of arguing in case of a conflict \ with their husbands. 5 4 3 2 1 Completely Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Absolutely Disagree 47 . The head of the household is man. 1 2 3 4 5 task in the house is breadwinning. 1 2 3 4 5 49. Woman should not work if the economical situation of the man is adequate. 1 2 3 4 5 50. Profession implemented by 1 2 3 4 5

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73 woman and man should be dif ferent. 51. Men should be preferred in employment applications because 1 2 3 4 5 52. A girl should obey until she is married. 1 2 3 4 5 53. Man should deal with tasks away from home such as shopping an d paying the bills. 1 2 3 4 5 54. Girls should be dressed in pink while boys should be dressed in blue. 1 2 3 4 5 55. Man should decide on how to use family income. 1 2 3 4 5 56. Men should be employed in high status professions. 1 2 3 4 5 education should be prioritized in the family. 1 2 3 4 5 58. A man should beat up his wife if necessary. 1 2 3 4 5 59. Education level of the man should be higher than woman in marriages. 1 2 3 4 5

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74 60. Man should be older than woman in marriages. 1 2 3 4 5 Please choose one of the numbers to describe how helpful sources have been to your family during the past 3 to 6 months. If a source of help has not been available to your family during this period this period of time, check the not available r esponse. Not Available Not at all Helpful Some Times Helpful Generally Helpful Very Helpful Extremely Helpful 61. Your parents 0 1 2 3 4 5 62. Your 0 1 2 3 4 5 63. Your relatives other than parents 0 1 2 3 4 5 64. Your relat ives 0 1 2 3 4 5 65. Your spouse 0 1 2 3 4 5 66. Your friends 0 1 2 3 4 5 67. Your 0 1 2 3 4 5 68. Your own children 0 1 2 3 4 5 69. Other Parents 0 1 2 3 4 5 70. Co workers 0 1 2 3 4 5 71. Parents groups 0 1 2 3 4 5 72. Social gr oups 0 1 2 3 4 5 73. Mosques 0 1 2 3 4 5 74. Your Family 0 1 2 3 4 5

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75 physician 75. Early childhood intervention programs 0 1 2 3 4 5 76. School/ daycare 0 1 2 3 4 5 77. Professional helpers (social workers, therapists, teachers, etc) 0 1 2 3 4 5 78. Professional agencies 0 1 2 3 4 5

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76 LIST OF REFERENCES Alesina, A & Giuliano, P. (2010). The power of the family. Economic Growth, 15 , 93 105, DOI 10.1007/s10887 010 9052 z Allison, P. D. (2003). Missing data techniques for structural equati on modeling. Journal of Abnormal Psychology , 112 (4), 545 557. AlMunajjed, M. (1997). Women in saudi arabia today . United States: St. Martins Press. Al Khateeb, Salwa A. (1998). Women, family, and the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia. Marriage & Famil y Review, 27 (1 2), 167 189. Belsky, J., & Kelly, J. (1994). The transition to parenthood: How a first child changes a marriage . Why some couples grow closer and others apart. New York: Dell. Busby, D. M., Christensen, C., Crane, D. R., & Larson, J. H. (1995). A revision of the dyadic adjustment scale for use with distressed and nondistressed couples: Construct hierarchy and multidimensional scales. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 21 , 289 308. Cast, A.D. (2004). Well being and the transition to parenthood: An identity theory approach. Sociological Perspectives, 47 ,55 78. The Washington Times . Retrieved July 20, 2014 from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/24/un praises saudi arabia womens rights/ Claxton, A., & Perry Jenkins, M. (2008). No fun anymore: Leisure and marital quality across the transition t o parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70 (1), 28 43. doi: 10.1111/j.1741 3737.2007.00459.x Cox, M. J., Paley, B., Burchinal, M., & Payne, C. C. (1999). Marital perceptions and interactions across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 61 , 611 625. Deave, T., Johnson, D., & Ingram, J. (2008). Transition to parenthood: The needs of parents in pregnancy and early parenthood. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 8 (1). doi: 10.1186/1471 2393 8 30 Dew, J. & Wilcox, W. B. (2011). If mo marital satisfaction among new mother. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73 (1), 1 12. doi: 10.1111/j.1741 3737.2010.00782.x De Vaus, D. (2001). Research design in social research . London: Sage.

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81 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Amjad Gazzaz was born in the Kingdom of Saudi Arab ia. She started studying early childhood education at King Abd ul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After she got married in 2007, she moved to the United States to be with her husband. She transferred her studies to the University of Florida where in 2011 she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degr ee in family, youth, and c ommu nity s ciences. She receiving her Master of Science degree in August of 2014, also in family, youth, and community sciences, Amjad pursued a career in the field of early childhood.