Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick H. Munley

Second Advisor

Dr. James M. Croteau

Third Advisor

Dr. Jody Brylinsky


Exercise has been shown to be positively related to many different variables including sexual satisfaction, mental health, and physical health. These variables, in turn, have been linked to increased life satisfaction and couple satisfaction. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between exercise and couple satisfaction as well as exercise and life satisfaction. A secondary purpose was to replicate previous findings on the relationships between communication, love, sexual satisfaction, self-esteem, and physical health and couple satisfaction.

A total of 229 undergraduate and graduate students from a large Midwestern university in the United States participated in this study. These participants were found to generally be young, healthy, and satisfied individuals. Participants were asked to complete the following measures: ENRICH Couple Satisfaction Scale, Sexual Satisfaction Scale, and Communication Scale (Olson, 1996), Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), a health status assessment (Cox. Spiro, & Sullivan, 1988), Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1989), a demographic sheet, and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) (Craig, et al., 2003).

Correlational analysis, hierarchical multiple regression, and path analysis were employed to investigate the relationships between the variables of communication, love, sexual satisfaction, self-esteem, physical health, life satisfaction, couple satisfaction, and exercise. Results indicated that communication, love, sexual satisfaction, self-esteem, and physical health were significantly correlated with couple satisfaction. These same variables, with the exception of physical health, were also significant predictors of couple satisfaction. Findings indicated that communication, love, sexual satisfaction, and self-esteem, are important variables in relation to couple satisfaction and these findings are consistent with prior research. Exercise was not found to significantly correlate with couple or life satisfaction and was not a significant predictor of couple satisfaction or life satisfaction in the regression analysis. An exploratory path analysis model in which exercise's effects were hypothesized to all be indirect and through the variable of health was found to be plausible. Findings are discussed and suggestions made for future research.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access