Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Despite the gains in disaster research on families, there is little research on the impact of disasters on marital relationships. This study addresses this under- researched area through the examination of the effects of the 1997 Red River Valley Flood on marital relationships.

Data was collected through in-depth interviews with ten heterosexual married couples. The results indicate that the 1997 Red River Valley Flood did have an impact on marital relationships. However, the impact of the flood appeared to be mediated by the state of the couples' relationships prior to the flood. Couples who reported strong relationships prior to the flood reported their relationships were stronger after the flood.. In contrast, couples who reported weak relationships prior to the flood generally reported that their relationships were even weaker after the flood. The findings suggest that supportive service providers need to be aware of the impact disasters may have on marital relationships in order to better help couples cope during times of crises.