2011. Vol.2, No.5, 497-501
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. DOI:10.4236/psych.2011.25077
A Review Study on the Marriage and Relationship
Research in Turkey
Sevgi Güney
Clinical Psychologist, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey.
Received April 30th, 2011; revised June 6th, 2011; accepted July 8th, 2011.
The aim of this study is to examine the studies on marriage and relationship in Turkey.127 studies (82 research
studies and 45 scale studies) published and unpublished between 1997-2008 were examined toprovide an
overview for professionals about the marriage and relationship research done in Turkey. The studies were
reviewed in terms of their general characteristics, conceptual frameworks and methods of investigation. The
results were discussed and suggestions were given in terms of future directions.
Keywords: Meta Analytical Review, Marriage, Relationship Research
There is a growing body of research findings indicating that
psychopathology is linked with marital and intimate relation-
ship functioning (Whisman & Uebelacker, 2003; Macnab,
1999). In additional to marriage and relationship functioning,
culture is another crucial factor in understanding the nature of
the marital relationships and its perceived satisfaction (Sahin
& Sahin, 1992; Fisiloglu & Demir, 2000). For example, Fisi-
loglu et al. (2008) indicated that the vast majority of individu-
als in North America choose their own spouses and do so on
the basis of love and personal affinity. Cherlin (2003) sug-
gested that Australians place strong emphasis on personal
choice, individual satisfaction and romantic love as the basis
for marital commitment. In contrast, Fisiloglu and Kurter
(2004) commented that marriages in many countries, such as
Turkey, are frequently or even predominantly arranged. Again
Kagitcibasi and Ataca (2005) stated that the dominant value in
the system is honor, which is maintained to a large extent
through men having control over the sexual behavior (chastity)
of the women in the family. Through the relevant literature it is
obvious that there is a link between relationship functioning
and psychopathology. Gaining an overview of the research on
marriage and relationship functioning may enable us to form
an opinion regarding what has been done in the area. This can
provide mental health professionals with the knowledge to
improve intervention methods in the preventive mental health
The main objective of this study is to present the studies on
marriage and relationship counseling and therapy in Turkey by
examining and analyzing the studies’ main criteria. The de-
tailed aims of this study are 1) to review the relevant literature,
2) to determine what kinds of studies have been conducted in
the area, 3) to ascertain the goals of the studies, 4) to formu-
late an opinion about the nature of the potential moderators in
the studies examined.
According to the objectives of the study, a total of 127 stud-
ies were subjected to analysis. These included published and
unpublished studies on marriage and relationship research pro-
jects in Turkey.
The inclusion criteria was the studies conducted between
1997 and 2008 with keywords “marriage and relationship Tur-
key”. The following methods were used to locate studies for
inclusion of publish studies; computerized search of SAGE,
ProQuest health and Medical Complete Data Base, EBSCO-
HOST Web Turkish, PsychINFO, MEDLINE, Psychology and
Behaviour Sciences Collections, Master File Premier, Psy-
chARTICLES, ERIC, Google Scholar in Turkey, Turkish Jour-
nal of Psychology, Turkish psychological Articles, Turkish
Psychological Bulletin, 3P: Psychiatry, Psychology and Psy-
chopharmacology, kris dergisi (Crisis Journal), Turkish Psy-
chiatry Index. To locate unpublished studies for the inclusion
two methods were used:
1) A computerized search of the Turkish Higher Education
Documentation Center Library and The Middle East technical
University Library.
2) A manual search of Master Theses and Dissertations in the
Middle East Technical University Library.
A coding form was developed by the researcher. To summa-
rize the reached studies and to constitute the potential modera-
tor variables for future meta-analytic research, the studies were
coded under the 2 main headings as A. Research Studies (RS)
and B. Scale Studies (SS). The intimate relationships in coding
form were used to subsume both marital and intimate relation-
ships. Research Studies (RS) consists of mainly 4 categories. 1)
Characteristics of The Research Studies (RS) with the three
subcategories as the distribution, the publication status and the
types; 2) The Aims of The Studies of Researchers; 3) Sample
Characteristics with the subcategories as the sampling method,
the mean age, the education level, the sample size, the marital
status of the subjects in the samples, the duration of the rela-
tionships of the subjects in the samples, the living area of the
subjects of the samples; 4) Researchers Characteristics with the
subcategories as the status of the researchers, the gender of the
researchers. Scale Studies (SS) consists of mainly 2 cate- gories.
These are 1) Characteristics of Scale Studies with the subcate-
gories as “Adapted OR Developed”, Number of items in the
Scale Studies “Nitems”, Construct Validity Measures of the
Scale Studies “Factor Structures”, Reliability Measure of the
Scale Studies “Cronbachalpha values”, the scaling types of the
scales in the Scale Studies and 2) The Type of The Scale Studies.
As a result of searching and coding procedures, 127 studies
(82 research and 45 scale studies) were identified.
Research Studies
Characteristics of the Research Studies
The Distribution
Of the total 82 research studies (RS) dating from the 1997-
2008 period, 23 (28%) were conducted between 2005 and 2006,
20 (24.3%) were in 2007-2008, 15 (18.3%) RS in 2001-2002,
11(13.4%) RS from 2003 to 2004 and 10 (12.4%) RS in 1999-
2000 period were conducted. The minimum number was made
between 1997and 1998 with only 3 studies (3.6%).
The Publication Status
47 (57.3%) studies were in a reviewed journals. 22 (26.8%)
studies were master theses, 6 (7.4%) were PhD dissertations and
7 (8.5%) studies were presented at meetings and/or conferences.
Therefore the 35 (42.7%) studies were unpublished research.
The Types
The research studies were categorized under 7 headings,
cross-cultural research, descriptive research, comparitive re-
search, descriptive and comparative research, experimental
studies, longitudinal research and preliminary report. Most of
them (46 studies (56.5%)) were classified into the descriptive
research category. Comparative studies with descriptive meth-
ods were in the second with 12 studies (14.6%). The number of
experimental research with control group was 11 studies
(13.4%). Then cross-cultural research with 6 studies (7.2%),
comparative research with 4 studies (4.7%), longitudinal re-
search with 2 studies (2.4%), and finally preliminary report
with 1 study (1.2%) were followed.
The Aims of Studies of Researchers
The category corresponds to five groups;
The Aims of the Researchers sub-category were collected
into five groups; 1) The studies has been designed to display
the marital adjustment (45 studies 54.9%), 2) The studies de-
signed to explore the nature of relationships (17 studies, 20.7%),
3) The studies designed to show the marital satisfaction (11
studies, 13.4%), 4) The studies designed to people’s attitudes
towards intimate relationships (5 studies, 6.1%), 5) The studies
designed to reveal the cross-cultural differences on marital
relationships (4 studies, 4.9%) (Figure 1).
Figure 1.
The aims of the studies. 1) Marital Adjustment; 2) Descriptive studies
on the nature of the relationships; 3) Marital Satisfaction; 4) Attitudes
for intimate relationships; 5) Cross-cultural studies.
Samples Characteristics
The Sampling Method
Four categories has been found fort his subcategory. These
are the purposive sampling method, basic random assignment
sampling method, snowball sampling method and the con-
venience sampling method with snowball sampling. The pur-
posive sampling method (53 studies, 64.6%) was the most pre-
ferred sampling method. Basic random assignment (18 studies,
20%) was second in order. Then snowball sampling (5 studies,
6.2%) and convenience + snowball sampling (2 studies, 2.4%)
followed. 4 studies (6.8) were coded as missing since they have
no relevant information about this criteria.
The Mean Age
The subcategory corresponded to 8 age intervals. These age
intervals are 7 - 12 age interval, 18 - 24 age interval, 25 - 30
age interval, 31 - 36 age interval, 37 - 42 age interval, 43 - 48
age interval, 49 - 54 age interval. One of these intervals corre-
sponds to childhood ages (7 - 12) as the subjects of two studies
(2.4 %) also consisted of children. Another 21 studies (25.6%)
fell into the 37 - 42 age interval. In the 18 - 24 age group, there
were 18 (22%) studies and the 31 - 36 age intervals was repre-
sented by 17 (20.7%) studies. There were 12 studies (14.6%) in
the 25 - 30 interval while 2 studies (2.4%) fell into the 43 - 48
age group, 3 studies (3.7%) comprised the 49 - 54 interval. In 7
(8.6%) studies the mean age criteria could not be found so these
studies coded as missing (see Table 1).
Table 1.
Age range of the subjects in the studies.
Age Interval Frequency Percentile
37 - 42 21 25.6
18 - 24 18 22.0
31 - 36 17 20.7
25 - 30 12 14.6
49 - 54 3 3.7
43 - 48 2 2.4
7 - 12 2 2.4
Missing 7 8.6
Total 82 100.0
S. GÜNEY 499
The Education Level
It was coded into 7 subcategories: literate, left primary
school, graduated primary school, left high school, graduated
high school/university students, left university, and graduated
university. For these categories, the most preferable sample is
university students with 22 studies; 27.6%). The subjects of 25
studies (30.4%) were university graduates, while the subjects of
14 studies (17%) were high school students. The education
level of the subjects of 9 studies (10.4 %) was the graduated
primary school. The rate of missing cases was 14.6% with 12
research studies.
The Gender
The gender of the subjects in research studies displayed on
Figure 2 and Figure 3.
The Sample Size
8 categories were found fort his subcategory. These catego-
ries are 101 - 200 subjects, 201 - 300 subjects, 301 - 400 sub-
jects, 401 - 570 subjects and the studies having big sample sizes.
101 - 200 subjects interval accounted for 33 (38.8%). The 201 -
300 groups came in second with 25 studies at 30.9 %. The
studies having as 301 - 400 subjects are 4 (7.2%). In the 401 -
570 groups there were 14 (17.1%) studies. One study had 1453
(1.2%) subjects, and another consisted of 8075 (1.2%) subjects.
Two studies (2.4%) comprised 2000 and 1280 subjects. The
final study (1.2%) was made up of 571 - 870 subjects. There-
fore, it may be said that most studies fell into the 101 - 570
sample interval.
The Marital Status of the Subjects in the Sample s
Of the research studies were found as 52 studies (%63.4) ad-
dressed married subjects, 24 (%29.4) were for singles, and 2
(%2.4) for divorced subjects. The categories not applicable and
missing cases were 3 (%3.6) and 1 (%1.2), respectively.
The Duration of the Relationship of the Subjects in the
It was found that 53 (64.6%) out of 82 Research Studies (RS)
had suitable information, while 29 were identified as either
missing (20 studies 24.4%) or not applicable (9 studies 11%).
Figure 2.
Female subjects in the research studies.
10 - 20 subjects 151 - 200 subjects 800-upper subjects
21 - 50 subjects 201 - 250 subjects 9 Missing
51 - 100 subjects 251 - 300 subjects 99 Not applicable
101 - 150 subjects 601 - 700 subjects
Figure 3.
Male subjects in the research studies.
10 - 20 subjects 151 - 200 subjects 800-upper subjects
21 - 50 subjects 201 - 250 subjects 9 Missing
51 - 100 subjects 251 - 300 subjects 99 Not applicable
101 - 150 subjects 601 - 700 subjects
For relationships of 1 - 3 years, 6 studies (7.3%) were found, 3
(3.6 %) for 1 - 5 years, 2 studies (2.4 %) for 3 years. + 1 day to
5 years and 5 studies (6.1%) for 5 years. + 1 day - 7 years. The
other durations were: 7 yrs + 1 day - 9 yrs (6 studies, 7.3%), 9 +
1 day - 11yrs (4 studies, 4.9%), 11 + 1 day - 13 yrs (14 studies,
14.8 %), 13 + 1 day - 15 yrs (3 studies, 3.6%), 15 + 1 day - 17
yrs (2 studies, 2.4%), 17 + 1day - 19 yrs (4 studies, 4.9%), 19 +
1 day - 25 yrs (6 studies,7.3%), and 25 yrs and above (2 studies,
The Living Area of the Subjects of the Samples
In the all Research Studies (82, 100%), the analysis indicated
that the subjects of 71 studies (86.6%) lived in urban areas of
Turkey. The 5 studies (6.1%) comprised subjects living in rural
areas, while the percentage of subjects living in both urban and
rural area was 7.3% for 6 studies.
Researcher Characteristics
Status of the Researchers
Out of 82 research studies, 40 (48.8%) were conducted by
professors, assistant professors, associate professors. Then
master students follow with 25 (30.5%) studies. 9 (11%) RS
were conducted by research assistants and specialists at Uni-
versities. Only 5 studies (6.1%) were done by dissertation stu-
dents. Only 3 studies (3.6%) were conducted by professionals
working in the area (a psychologist, a doctor and a social
worker at different state hospitals).
Gender of the Researchers
Of the total 82 research studies, 58 studies (70.7%) were
conducted by female researchers (Figure 2). The rest (23 stud-
ies (28.1%)) conducted by male professionals (Figure 3). The
gender of one study’s researcher could not be determined as the
first name was indicated by initial only so the study (1, 1.2%)
was coded as missing. Thus, it can be said that most research on
marriage and relationships has been conducted by lecturers at
Turkish universities.
Scale Studies
Some scales adapted before 1997 were included in this pre-
liminary report because these were given as a reference in some
scale studies done between 1997 and 2008. Among the scale
studies, the peak point was the 2001-2002 period (18 studies,
%40.1). 2003-2004 period was second with 9 studies (20.1%).
In 1999-2000, 7 studies (%15.6) were determined, and 5 studies
(10.9%) in 1997-1998. In 2005-2008, there were 3 studies
(6.7%). In 1987-1989, there were 2 studies (4.4%). Only one
study (2.2%) was found in 1994.
Characteristics of the Scale Studies
To deal with the studies conducted to adapt a scale or de-
velop a Turkish culturally unique scale, 4 headlines were de-
signed. These are:
Adapted and/or Developed Sc ales
Out of 45 studies, it was found that 27 studies (60%) had
adapted scales from different cultures to Turkish culture and 18
studies (40%) developed a scale unique to Turkish culture.
Number of Items of the Scales in the Scale Studies
All the scales differed in the 4 - 225 items range. 2 studies
(4.4%) had no relevant information so they were coded as
missing. There were 11 scale studies (24.4%) with 4 - 10 items.
The scales having 11 - 20 items were 10 (22.4%). The number
of items of the scales being 21 - 36 was 15 (33.3%). These
scales are as follows; 4 scale studies consisting of 151 - 225
items (8.9%), 2 scales (4.4%) being in the 151 - 225 range, and
1 scale (2.2%) varying between 101 and 150 items were deter-
Construct Validity Measures of the Scale Studies (Factor
They were grouped into 4 categories. There were 14 (31.1%)
scales that fell into the 5 - 10 factors interval. The number of
factors of scales with 1 - 2 factors was 11 (24.4%) Then 9
scales (20%) were in the 3 - 4 factors interval. 8 scale studies
(17.8%) had an 11 - 16 factor structure. There are three studies
(6.6%) which have no any relevant information about these
criteria so these studies coded as missing.
Reliability Measures of the Scale Studies (Cronbach Alpha
These categories were divided into 4 intervals. The Cronbach
Alpha values in the 90 - 81 interval were seen in 24 studies
(53.3%). Another 12 scales had Cronbach Alpha values in the
91 - 96 intervals (26.7%). There were 8 scales (17.8%) whose
Cronbach Alpha values fell into the 70 - 80 intervals. The
Cronbach Alpha value of only 1 scale (2.2%) was in the 60 - 69
The Scaling Types of the Scales in the Scale Studies
A total of 40 scales (89%) had varied as likert type points (1
- 3, 1 - 5, 1 - 6, and 1 - 7). The 2 scales (4.4%) had both yes/no
and likert type questions. The other 3 studies (6.6%) were in the
yes/no subcategory.
“What the Scales in Scale Studies Measures?”
This category corresponds to “what the scale in the scale
studies measures?”. 7 subcategories were determined. The first
22 studies (48.9%) dealth with the scales designed for the na-
ture of intimate relationship. The 9 studies (20%) were on the
Figure 4.
What the scales measure in Turkish culture. 1) The nature of relation-
ship/adjustment/satisfaction; 2) Attachment styles; 3) Attitudes to rela-
tionship & marriage; 4) Jealousy; 5) Attitudes to homosexuality; 6)
Communication & Loneliness; 7) Coping & Problem Solving.
people’s attitudes to the intimate relationships. The 5 studies
(11.1%) measured the attachment styles and emotional de-
pendency in both marital and intimate relationships. There were
3 studies (6.7%) investigating the Jealousy dimension in the
intimate studies. One study (2.2%) measured the attitudes to
homosexuality. However, there comprised 4 studies (8.9%) for
displaying the coping and problem solving strategies for the
intimate relationships. Finally, there was only 1 study (2.2%)
on measuring communication and loneliness dimension of the
intimate relationships (Figure 4).
In short, this study was conducted to draw an overall picture
of the marriage and relationship studies conducted in Turkish
culture. According to the results, the studies give the general
impression of a well-educated Turkish population living in
urban areas. Unfortunately, this situation severely limits the
size of the population whose marriage, marital relationships and
marital satisfaction were broughtto light. Although there are
some studies dealing with other populations, they are very few.
This handicap may come from the obligation of using self-
report scales in the studies, which may force the researcher to
work with a limited sample. What can be said about the popula-
tions constituting a large part of the Turkish community, being
poorly educated, living in a rural/urban area, having consider-
able economical difficulties and suffering from severe marital
disfunctions and psychological disturbances resulting from this
pathological marital relationship?
With few exceptions, studies on marital and intimate rela-
tionships have been conducted in Turkish universities. The
subjects of these studies, typically few in number, were from
the university population or university graduates living in cities.
Some were found to be at least high school graduates, while the
population of Turkey consists of many more primary, middle
school graduates. In addition Ozkan, Altindag, Oto and Sentu-
nali (2006) indicated that in many rural areas of the country
multiple-spouse marriages are somewhat common. Although in
S. GÜNEY 501
urban areas there are fewer cases, many marriages are still ar-
ranged throughout Turkey. It is widely believed that arranged
marriages last longer. There are many cases of severe psycho-
pathological problems seen in women, and fewer in men, who
have not married the spouse chosen by the father (Guney et al,
2007). Sayil (1996) claims that the percentage of people at-
tempting suicide in protest is not small. Married couples with
any psychopathological problems (Guney et al, 2009) applying
to health professionals should first be referred to the preventive
psychological and psychiatry clinics to take up the subject of
marital relationships. Marriage and relationship studies must
have larger subject bases, equal numbers from each educational
level to significantly help determine the nature and frequency
of psychiatric problems said exist in marriages. Such studies
could extend the duration of many marriages. By means of
these studies, the psychopathological factors could be addressed.
In the development or appearance of psychiatric illnesses, cli-
nicians should remember the partner effect and the actor effect.
Since the characteristics of such studies could have important
potential effects, it is necessary to improve the technical prop-
erties of the studies done in this area. Perhaps protecting the
family construct can be seen as a way to prevent psychiatric
disturbances that result from living alone. After all, the superior
health and contentment of a society consisting of children
raised in a happy family environment is common knowledge.
I would like to send my deepest appreciation to Francis A.,
Macnab, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of Cairnmillar
Psychotherapy Institute and Coral Brown, PhD from Cairn-
millar Psychotherapy Institute, Melbourne—Australia. I would
like to send my special thanks to Tuncay Ergene, PhD and
Zafer Çepni, PhD Student in Hacettepe University, Ankara/
Turkey for their valuable scientific affords and support while
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