Date of Award


Document Type


Primary Advisor

Ryan Jessup

Secondary Advisor

Katie Wick

Committee Reader

Suzie Macaluso


The prisoners’ dilemma may be one of the most studied games in economic strategy due to its application to reality and its implications for cooperation. Despite the inherent alignment between the game and marital relationships, very little research has been conducted on married partners in a PD game. We wanted to observe the extent to which behavior in a PD game predicted marital satisfaction. Participants were recruited from a church couple’s group in Abilene, Texas (n = 40). Results of this preliminary research indicate that a couple’s competitiveness in the PD game has a positive relationship to marital satisfaction. The length of an individual’s marriage and how often individuals cooperate with one another are negatively correlated with an individual’s marital satisfaction. Results further indicate that a respondent’s likelihood to forgive his partner for defection had no relationship to their marital satisfaction. We provide some possible reasons for these divergent findings. This study adds to current research on game theory and current research on marital satisfaction and relationships, while filling a gap in the current research on these topics.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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