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This study explored how money and sex simultaneously predicted marital instability, and what financial therapists might focus on with clients to address problems in these areas. Specifically, this paper concurrently examined the relationship of marital instability to financial and family stressors (financial stressors, work-family conflict, and parenting stressors); financial and sexual resources (couple income and couple sexual frequency); and financial and sexual perceptions (financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction). Couple financial communication and couple relational communication were explored as intervention points for financial therapists. Data came from Wave 2 of the Flourishing Families data set (N = 301). Data were organized using the ABC-X model of family stress (Hill, 1949) and integrated with Gottman's research on the importance of relational communication (Navarra, Gottman, & Gottman, 2016). Path analysis revealed that family financial stressors were associated with greater financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction. Work-family conflict was associated with greater couple income, and parenting stressors were positively associated with sexual dissatisfaction. Couple income was associated with lower financial dissatisfaction, and sexual frequency was associated with lower sexual dissatisfaction. Both financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction predicted greater marital instability; however, healthy couple financial communication and healthy couple relationship communication fully mediated these two associations. This suggests that if financial therapists help clients to communicate more productively about money and sex, problems such as financial stress, work-family conflict, inadequate income, and conflicts about sexual frequency may be less likely to lead to divorce.
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How do Money, Sex, and Stress In$uence Marital
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E. Je#rey Hill
Brigham Young University
David B. Allsop
Brigham Young University
Ashley B. LeBaron
Brigham Young University
Roy A. Bean
Brigham Young University
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How do Money, Sex, and Stress In$uence Marital Instability?
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Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
We acknowledge the Flourishing Families project of the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University for
their contribution of data and expertise to this project. We acknowledge the College of Home, Family, and Social
Sciences at Brigham Young University for funds that helped support this project. We also acknowledge funds
provided by the Camilla Eyring Kimball professorship in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University.
ISSN: 1945-7774
CC byNC 4.0 2017 Financial Therapy Association 21
How do Money, Sex, and Stress
Influence Marital Instability?
E. Jeffrey Hill, Ph.D.
David B. Allsop
Ashley B. LeBaron
Roy A. Bean, Ph.D.
Brigham Young University
This study explored how money and sex simultaneously predicted marital instability, and what
financial therapists might focus on with clients to address problems in these areas. Specifically,
this paper concurrently examined the relationship of marital instability to financial and family
stressors (financial stressors, work-family conflict, and parenting stressors); financial and
sexual resources (couple income and couple sexual frequency); and financial and sexual
perceptions (financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction). Couple financial
communication and couple relational communication were explored as intervention points for
financial therapists. Data came from Wave 2 of the Flourishing Families data set (N = 301).
Data were organized using the ABC-X model of family stress (Hill, 1949) and integrated with
Gottman's research on the importance of relational communication (Navarra, Gottman, &
Gottman, 2016). Path analysis revealed that family financial stressors were associated with
greater financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction. Work-family conflict was associated
with greater couple income, and parenting stressors were positively associated with sexual
dissatisfaction. Couple income was associated with lower financial dissatisfaction, and sexual
frequency was associated with lower sexual dissatisfaction. Both financial dissatisfaction and
sexual dissatisfaction predicted greater marital instability; however, healthy couple financial
communication and healthy couple relationship communication fully mediated these two
associations. This suggests that if financial therapists help clients to communicate more
productively about money and sex, problems such as financial stress, work-family conflict,
inadequate income, and conflicts about sexual frequency may be less likely to lead to divorce.
Keywords: money; sex; stress; communication; marital stability; family finance; family stress
theory; ABC-X Model; financial therapy; marriage and family therapy
INTRODUCTION
Every couple begins marriage with an array of hopes and dreams. None expects
divorce to end their relationship. However, it is estimated that between 40% and 50% of all
marriages end in divorce (Amato, 2010; Cherlin, 2010). Two often-mentioned contributing
factors to divorce are the inability of the couple to get beyond problems related to money
and sex, and the arguments those problems engender (Grable, Britt, & Cantrell, 2007). This
study empirically explores how family finances and couple sex simultaneously predict
marital instability.
There have been many studies linking financial factors to marital satisfaction (e.g.,
Archuleta, Britt, Tonn, & Grable, 2011; Dew, 2011) and marital instability (e.g., Dew, 2009;
Dew, Britt, & Huston, 2012; cf. Andersen, 2005). Likewise, there have been many studies
linking sexual factors to marital satisfaction (e.g., Gadassi et al., 2016; McNulty, Wenner, &
Fisher, 2016) and marital instability (e.g., Yeh, Lorenz, Wickrama, Conger, & Elder, 2006;
Yucel, 2016). In addition, a few studies have introduced mediators to see what factors might
eliminate or lessen the adverse effect that financial and sexual stressors have on marital
satisfaction and stability (e.g., Carroll, Hill, Yorgason, Larson, & Sandberg, 2013; Dew, 2009;
Yeh et al., 2006). However, there is a scarcity of research that combines money, sex, and
marital instability into one research model. Additionally, few studies have explored potential
mediators that would ameliorate these problems. This paper attempts to do both.
Theory
Reuben Hill's (1949) ABC-X model of family stress integrated with John Gottman's
research on the importance of relational communication (Navarra, Gottman, & Gottman,
2016) was the foundation for this study (See Figure 1). The purpose of Hill's model is to
explain why some families cope well when bombarded with stressorseven flourishing
because of them (Patterson, 2002)while other families flounder when faced with those
same stressors (Hill, 1949). The reason for the variance in outcomes is attributed to
differences in how stressors (factor A) interact with resources (factor B) and perceptions
(factor C) to determine the level of stress or crisis (factor X) the family experiences (Hill,
1949; Hobfoll & Spielberger, 1992). At the core of family stress theory is the assumption that
families are not victims of their circumstances; rather, as they take advantage of resources
and perceive meaning in their experiences, families can positively adapt and be resilient in
the face of challenges (Patterson, 2002). Gottman's research on relational communication
(Navarra et al., 2016) suggests two mediators that could be considered resources that may
be excellent intervention points for financial therapists: healthy financial communication
and healthy relationship communication.
The relationship of money and sex to marital instability is very important and very
complex. This paper is a valuable addition to the scholarly milieu on this topic because it
integrates Gottman's (Navarra et al., 2016) view of communication with Hill's (1949) ABC-X
stress process in a way that creates a natural application to financial therapy. Financial
therapists can use this knowledge to benefit their clients.
Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
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Figure 1. Reuben Hill's (1949) ABC-X model of family stress integrated with John Gottman's
research on the importance of relational communication (Navarra, Gottman, & Gottman,
2016).
LITERATURE REVIEW
Empirical Review
Family finances and marital outcomes. There are few family finance research
articles with marital instability as an outcome variable (Dew, 2016). That being said, lack of
financial resources, as well as other financial stressors, do predict marital dissatisfaction
(Archuleta et al., 2011; Conger, Rueter, & Elder, 1999; Dew, 2011; Gudmunson, Beutler,
Israelsen, McCoy, & Hill, 2007) and divorce (Dew, 2009; Dew et al., 2012; cf. Andersen,
2005). Even financial stress from one's family of origin may lead to marital dissatisfaction
(Hubler, Burr, Gardner, Larzelere, & Busby, 2016). In addition to the resources themselves,
management of those resources can act as a sort of resource (or lack thereof). For example,
healthy financial management behaviors have been found to be associated with marital
satisfaction and marital success (Dew & Xiao, 2013).
The perception of a family's financial situationfinancial satisfactionmay be even
more strongly related to marital outcomes than the actual financial resources available
(Dew, 2009). For example, wives' marital satisfaction and perception of how divorce would
impact them financially fully mediated the relationship between assets and divorce (Dew,
2009). Further, financial satisfaction has been shown to be associated with marital
satisfaction (Archuleta, Grable, & Britt, 2013).
Couple sex and marital outcomes. Previous research has found that sexual
satisfaction is associated with marital stability (Yucel, 2016). Specifically, a longitudinal
study conducted by Yeh et al. (2006) established sexual satisfaction as one of the key
predictors of marital stability and suggested that this relationship is mediated by marital
quality. In addition to studying marital instability as an outcome, a plethora of research has
found that sexual satisfaction is predictive of marital satisfaction (e.g., Gadassi et al., 2016;
McNulty et al., 2016; Nezhad & Goodarzi, 2011). In a recent mixed methods longitudinal
study, Schoenfeld, Loving, Pope, Huston, and Štulhofer (2016) found that positive nonsexual
behaviors toward spouse and sexual satisfaction but not sexual frequency predicted marital
satisfaction. Higher sexual satisfaction is not only associated with but leads to higher marital
satisfaction and less marital instability.
Couple communication and marital outcomes. Marital communication affects
marital satisfaction (Caughlin & Huston, 2002; Huston, Caughlin, Houts, Smith, & George,
2001) and stability (Huston et al., 2001; Wayas, 2008). Specifically, marital satisfaction has
been linked to couples' ability to communicate about personal topics as well as the extent to
which their communication is about positive topics (see Feeney, Noller, & Callan, 1994 for
review). There is evidence that these relationships between couple communication and
marital outcomes occur in various cultures (Chen & Lim, 2012) and transgenerationally
(Amato & DeBoer, 2001). Additionally, these associations begin even before marriage. For
example, Larson, Anderson, Holman, and Niemann (1998) found that wives' open
communication a few months before marriage predicted both husbands' and wives' sexual
satisfaction after one year of marriage.
Couple communication is a predictor of divorce. Various elements of negative
communication such as harsh start-ups, absence of de-escalation, and low positive affect
collectively have predicted divorce with 83% accuracy (Gottman, Coan, Carrere, & Swanson,
1998). Communication has also been found to mediate the relationships between some
stressors, such as work-family conflict, and marital satisfaction (Carroll et al., 2013).
Litzinger and Gordon (2005) found that not only did communication and sexual satisfaction
both independently predict marital satisfaction, strength in either communication or sexual
satisfaction can compensate for weakness in the other. Thus, positive communication can
protect sexually dissatisfied couples from marital dissatisfaction. Finally, couple
communication is linked with couple stress. Multiple studies have found that distressed
couples spend less time communicating, communicate about less personal topics, and have
more negative and conflicted communication (see Feeney et al., 1994 for review).
Financial communication and marital outcomes. Healthy financial
communication is key to a happy marriage (Shapiro, 2007). There is a growing body of
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literature on conflictual communication related to finances. Studies have shown that more
frequent financial conflict predicts divorce, even after controlling for other financial
stressors and resources (Britt & Huston, 2012; Dew et al., 2012). Financial conflict is
predicted by financial stressors and lack of financial resources (Britt, Huston, & Durband,
2010; Dew & Stewart, 2012). Financial conflict is not only distinctive from other forms of
couple communication but is also more intensive and relationally impactful (Dew & Dakin,
2011).
Sexual communication and marital outcomes. Another fundamental facet of
couple communication is sexual communication. Like other aspects of couple
communication, sexual communication has been found to predict marital satisfaction
(Rehman et al., 2011; Timm & Keiley, 2011) and sexual satisfaction (Timm & Keiley, 2011).
In fact, Rehman et al. (2011) found that a couple's sexual communication was associated with
their marital satisfaction when nonsexual communication was not. Some research has
focused on specific aspects of sexual communication such as the verbiage itself. A study
conducted by Hess and Coffelt (2012) revealed that couples who used more sexual terms in
their couple communication reported being more satisfied with both their sexual
communication and their relationship. This supports other research that has found that
more frequent (Coffelt & Hess, 2014) and more direct (Theiss, 2011) sexual communication
are associated with sexual and marital satisfaction. While previous research on sexual
communication and marital satisfaction is substantial, research with marital stability as an
outcome variable is scarce.
Finances, sex, and marital instability. Almost no studies have incorporated
finances, sex, and marital instability simultaneously. Those that do are often studies or
reviews exploring the degree to which a variety of marital issues predict divorce. For
example, Dew et al. (2012) found that among various topics of conflict, financial and sexual
conflict were two of the topics most predictive of divorce. No study has tested the
relationships between financial and sexual stressors, resources, perceptions, and outcomes
within marriage at the same time. This study is unique in incorporating both financial and
sexual variables in the same empirical model.
Theoretical Application
For the purposes of this study, the ABC-X model was applied on a couple level. The
same assumptions and mechanisms that influence family-level stress may also hold true for
couple-level stress (Wiggins Frame & Shehan, 1994). As discussed previously, this study took
particular interest in the financial and sexual aspects of the couple relationship; thus, this
study's adaptation of the ABC-X model integrated with Gottman's research will focus
specifically on financial and sexual stressors, resources, and perceptions. While couples
experience many diverse stressors, three main categories of stressors which have been
shown to influence marital relationships were employed in the model: finances (Conger et
al., 1990), work-family conflict (Carroll et al., 2013), and parenting (Van Den Troost,
Vermulst, Gerris, & Matthijs, 2005). The resources used were financial communication and
relational communication, along with income and sexual frequency (Hobfoll & Spielberger,
1992). Financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction were used to measure couple
perceptions. Marital instability was used as the outcome variable to measure crisis. In the
model (see Figure 2), how couple stressors interact with financial- and sexual-related
resources and perceptions was examined, as well as how those resources and perceptions
interacted with each other. Finally, how resources and perceptions interacted to predict a
couple's level of crisis was examined.
HYPOTHESES
In summary, previous research has established that family finances, couple sex, and
couple communication powerfully influence marital outcomes. However, no study has
examined these variables together, especially in the context of family stress. The purpose of
this paper is to examine the relationship of financial and family stressors, financial and
sexual dissatisfaction, and marital instability, with potential mediation from healthy couple
communication. Based on previous research and family stress theory, the following
hypotheses were proposed in relation to Hill's (1949) ABC-X model of family stress as
integrated with Gottman's research on relational communication.
Model without Communication as Mediator
The model without communication as a mediator proposes relationships of stressors
to resources and perceptions. It then proposes relationships of resources and perceptions to
marital instability.
Relationships of stressors to resources and perceptions. It is proposed that
stressors (financial stress, work-family conflict, and parenting stress) will be associated with
reduced resources (lower couple income and lower sexual frequency) and negative
perceptions (greater financial dissatisfaction and greater sexual dissatisfaction). Resources
(couple income and sexual frequency) will be associated with perceptions (lower financial
dissatisfaction and lower sexual dissatisfaction).
Relationships of resources and perceptions to marital instability. It is proposed
that resources (couple income and sexual frequency) will be associated with lower marital
instability. Negative perceptions (financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction) will be
associated with greater marital instability.
Model with Communication as Mediator (see Figure 2)
In the communication mediation model two additional resources that provide a
logical intervention point for financial therapists are added (healthy financial
communication and healthy relational communication).
Relationships of resources and perceptions to couple communication. It is
proposed that resources (couple income and sexual frequency) will be associated with
couple communication (greater healthy financial communication and greater healthy
relational communication). Perceptions (financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction)
Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
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will be associated with couple communication (lower healthy financial communication and
lower healthy relational communication).
Relationship of couple communication to marital instability. It is proposed that
couple communication (healthy financial communication and healthy relational
communication) will be associated with lower marital instability.
Couple communication as mediators. It is proposed that in the mediation model,
couple communication (healthy financial communication and healthy relational
communication) will mediate (make insignificant) the relationships of financial
dissatisfaction, sexual dissatisfaction, couple income, and sexual frequency to marital
instability.
Figure 2. Path analysis for hypotheses mapped to the ABC-X model of family stress (Hill, 1949).
METHODS
Participants and Procedure
The participants in this study came from Wave 2 of the Flourishing Families Project,
a longitudinal study of inner family life involving families who have children ages 10 to 17.
Data were collected from mothers, fathers, and a selected child through observation and
survey methods from a large northwestern city. Participants were primarily recruited using
a purchased national survey database that included details about information about millions
of households. Families were randomly selected from specified census tracts that mirrored
socio-economic and racial stratification of local school districts. To include
underrepresented populations, a limited number of families were recruited using flyers and
referrals. Families were contacted using a multi-step method that included a letter of
introduction, home visits, and phone calls. After eligibility and consent were established,
interviewers conducted an in-home interview to complete the questionnaires with the
families. Data were screened for missing answers and double markings. Subsequent waves
followed the same pattern of in-home questionnaire completion (Day, Coyne, Dyer, Harper,
& Walker, 2016). For this study, only two-parent families were used in the analysis. Couples
with missing data were not included in the analysis. Of the couples in the sample (N = 301),
76% considered themselves European American and 24% were of other ethnic categories.
The average household income category was $100,000 to $120,000. The age of participants
ranged from 14 to 63, with an average parent age of 45. The average marital length was 18.5
years.
Measures
Overview. All measures for the study came from the Flourishing Families Project and
include both partners in the relationship. Each partner individually answered each item
(except for couple income, which only one partner reported). Partner responses were either
averaged or summed together; thus, the couple is the unit of analysis. The total number of
items for a measure is the sum of both partners’ responses (for example, if a measure has 10
items, 5 of them came from each spouse, making a total of 10). Reliability of all items in the
measure (α) and correlations between male and female halves of each measure (r) are
reported.
Financial stressors. The financial stressors scale (10 items; α = .86; r = .697, p < .001)
assesses what ongoing finance-related stressors exist for each partner. This measure is part
of a general stress measure created by Umberson, Williams, Powers, Liu, and Needham
(2005). Participants were asked, “How stressful were the following for you during the last
year?” regarding situations such as difficulties in paying for bills, housing, health care needs,
and not having enough money after bills are paid. This measure was assessed on a Likert
scale ranging from 0 (did not occur) to 5 (occurred, extremely severe).
Work-family conflict. The work-family conflict scale (16 items; α = .84; r = .275, p <
.001) assesses the negative spillover from work to family and from family to work (Grzywacz
& Marks, 2000). Participants reported how often eight items such as, “Stress at work makes
Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
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you feel irritable at home” (work-to-family spillover) and “Responsibilities at home reduce
the effort you can devote to your job” (family-to-work spillover) occur. Only participants
who work for pay were included. This measure was assessed on a Likert scale ranging from
1 (never) to 5 (all the time).
Parenting stressors. The parenting stressors scale (10 items; α = .78; r = .357, p <
.001), adapted from Osborne and McLanahan (2007), assesses the stress parents face in
raising their child(ren) and being a parent. All couples in this study have children and
therefore responded to this measure. Respondents reported how they agreed with
statements such as, “I find myself giving up more of my life to meet my children’s needs than
I expected,” or “As a parent, I often feel that I cannot handle things well." This measure was
assessed on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Couple income. One partner in the relationship answered the question, “What is your
present annual income combined with that of your partner?” The measure, assessed on a
Likert scale, ranges from 1 (under $10,000 per year) to 12 ($200,000 or more per year).
Sexual frequency. Sexual frequency (2 items; α = .87; r = .768, p < .001) originated
from the relationship evaluation questionnaire (RELATE; Busby, Holman, Taniguchi, 2001).
The question, “About how often do you currently have sex with your partner?” was asked of
each spouse and was measured on a Likert scale ranging from 0 (never) to 6 (more than
once/day).
Financial dissatisfaction. The financial dissatisfaction measure (2 items; α = .65; r =
.481, p < .001), created specifically for the Flourishing Families Project, asks participants,
“How would you rate your satisfaction with your household income? (please answer in terms
of the recent past, such as during the last year)." This measure was assessed on a Likert scale
ranging from 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent). The scale was inverted for interpretability.
Sexual dissatisfaction. The sexual dissatisfaction scale (8 items; α = .69; r = .311, p <
.001) assesses the quality of sexual intimacy in the couple’s relationship. This measure,
created specifically for the Flourishing Families study, asked respondents how often
instances of the following four events occurred: “I would like my partner to express a little
more tenderness during intercourse,” “One thing my partner and I don’t discuss is our sexual
relationship,” “I feel our sexual activity is just routine,and “I hold back my sexual interest
because my partner makes me feel uncomfortable." This measure was assessed on a Likert
scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (all the time).
Financial communication. Financial communication (10 items; α = .88; r = .470, p <
.001) evaluates the quality of communication regarding finances specifically. Participants
rated their agreement with five statements such as, “My partner and I are working toward
the same financial goals.” This measure, created specifically for the Flourishing Families
Project, was assessed on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (very strongly disagree) to 5 (very
strongly agree).
Relational communication. Relational communication (26 items; α = .87; r = .509, p
< .001) assesses the quality of the couple’s communication using a scale developed from the
RELATE assessment (Busby et al., 2001). Using a Likert scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5
(very often), participants reported how often incidents of conflict (based on 11 statements)
and instances of using physical force to get one’s way (based on two statements) occur in
their couple communication. Examples of statements include, My partner uses tactless
choice of words when he or she complains,” and “In an argument, sometimes I use physical
force to get my way.”
Marital instability. Marital instability (6 items; α = .86; r = .762, p < .001) assesses
how stable the couples relationship is. Participants were asked how often three events
occur. One item is “How often have you thought your relationship (or marriage) might be in
trouble?” The measure was developed as part of the RELATE assessment (Busby et al., 2001).
Analysis
First, univariate analysis (see Table 1) and bivariate correlations (see Table 2) were
run for all measures in order to better understand the sample and the relationships between
measures. Bivariate correlations revealed strong relationships between healthy relational
communication and marital instability (r = -.685, p < .001) and healthy financial
communication and marital instability (r = -.553, p < .001) thus supporting the use of healthy
relational and financial communication as mediators in the models.
Table 1
Descriptive Statistics
Variable
N
Mean
Standard
Deviation
Financial Stressors
301
.82
.88
Work-Family Conflict
301
4.17
1.25
Parenting Stressors
301
1.92
.56
Sexual Dissatisfaction
301
2.32
.57
Sexual Frequency
301
2.36
1.08
Financial Dissatisfaction
301
2.25
.72
Couple Income
301
7.19
2.32
Healthy Relational Communication
301
3.70
.50
Healthy Financial Communication
301
4.20
.82
Marital Instability
301
1.62
.56
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CC byNC 4.0 2017 Financial Therapy Association 31
Table 2
Bivariate Correlations Between Measures
Variable
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1
Financial Stressors
--
2
Work-Family Conflict
.178**
--
3
Parenting Stressors
.066
.108
--
4
Sexual Dissatisfaction
.105
.037
.227***
--
5
Sexual Frequency
.083
-.097
-.015
-.412***
--
6
Financial Dissatisfaction
.645***
.092
.096
.166**
-.023
--
7
Couple Income
-.415***
.046
-.107
-.017
-.126*
-.494***
--
8
Healthy Relational
Communication
-.376***
-.171**
-.165**
.366***
.104
-.366***
.208***
--
9
Healthy Financial
Communication
-.439***
-.129*
-.130*
-.364***
.176**
-.499***
.154**
.482***
--
10
Marital Instability
.380***
.180**
.132*
.333***
-.161**
.362***
-.198***
-.685***
-.553***
--
Note. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.
Second, path analyses were performed using AMOS 23 software. The arrangement of
scales in the path analysis was determined based on their relationship to the components of
Hill’s (1949) ABC-X model of family stress. The model was arranged so that family stressors
(financial stressors, work-family conflict, and parenting stressors), resources (financial
communication, relational communication, couple income, and sexual frequency),
perceptions (financial dissatisfaction and sexual dissatisfaction), and level of stress/crisis
(marital instability) predicted one another in accordance with our hypotheses. A non-
mediation model (Figure 3) was run and did not include financial communication and
relationship communication as mediators. A second model (Figure 4) added financial
communication and relational communication as mediators.
RESULTS
The following models report the results of both the model without communication as
a mediator (Model 1, see Figure 3) and the model with communication as a mediator (Model
2, see Figure 4).
For Model 1, the model fit includes the following statistics: χ² (7) = 30.728, p < .001;
the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = .106; Tucker-Lewis index (TLI) =
.782; comparative fit index (CFI) = .946. For Model 2, the model fit includes the following
statistics: χ² (13) = 40.674, p < .001; the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)
= .084; Tucker-Lewis index (TLI) = .884; comparative fit index (CFI) = .966.
Model without Communication as Mediator (Model 1)
Relationships of stressors to resources and perceptions. In harmony with the
hypotheses, financial stress was associated with greater financial dissatisfaction (β = .529, p
< .001) and greater sexual dissatisfaction (β = .136, p < .01), and was associated with lower
couple income (β = -.432, p < .001). However, financial stress was not significantly related to
sexual frequency. Work-family conflict was not significantly related to financial
dissatisfaction, sexual dissatisfaction, or sexual frequency. Contrary to the hypothesis, work-
family conflict was associated with higher couple income (β = .133, p <. 05). Parenting stress
was significantly associated with greater sexual dissatisfaction (β = .217, p < .001). However,
parenting stress was not significantly related to financial dissatisfaction, couple income, or
sexual frequency. Couple income was significantly associated with lower financial
dissatisfaction (β = -.271, p < .001), and sexual frequency was significantly related to lower
sexual dissatisfaction (β = -.425, p < .001).
Relationships of resources and perceptions to marital instability. In harmony
with the hypotheses, financial dissatisfaction (β = .291, p < .001) and sexual dissatisfaction
(β = .264, p < .001) were significantly associated with greater marital instability (β = .291, p
< .001). However, neither couple income nor sexual frequency were significantly related to
marital instability.
Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
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Figure 3. Model 1: Results of path analysis without communication as mediator.
Model with Communication as Mediator (Model 2)
Relationships of resources and perceptions to couple communication. In
harmony with the hypotheses, financial dissatisfaction was associated with lower healthy
financial communication (β = -.506, p < .001) and lower healthy relational communication (β
= -.285, p < .001). Sexual dissatisfaction was associated with lower healthy financial
communication (β = -.269, p < .001) and lower healthy relational communication (β = -.333,
p < .001). Couple income and sexual frequency were not significantly related to healthy
financial communication or healthy relationship communication.
Relationship of couple communication to marital instability. In harmony with the
hypotheses, healthy financial communication (β = -.270, p < .001) and healthy relational
communication (β = -.530, p < .001) were both significantly associated with lower marital
instability.
Couple communication as mediators. In Model 1, both financial dissatisfaction (β
= .291, p < .001) and sexual dissatisfaction (β = .264, p < .001) were significantly related to
higher marital instability. When healthy financial communication and healthy relational
communication were added in Model 2, these relationships to marital instability became
non-significant (financial dissatisfaction: β = .004, p = ns; sexual dissatisfaction: β = .015, p =
ns)evidence of full mediation (Baron & Kenny, 1986).
Figure 4. Model 2: Results of path analysis with communication as mediator.
Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
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DISCUSSION
One clear message from this study is that perceptions matter, and they may matter
just as much or perhaps even more than objective facts. For example, financial and sexual
satisfaction (perceptions) predicted marital instability, while the objective amount of
income or frequency of sexual intercourse did not. This suggests that income itself is not
necessarily what matters most when it comes to marital instability. Instead, what matters
most may be whether the couple perceives their income to be sufficient; if they do not, their
financial dissatisfaction could lead to marital instability. Likewise, frequency of sexual
relations does not influence marital instability as much as the couple's satisfaction (or
perception) of that frequency does.
Another takeaway is that healthy financial communication and healthy relational
communication matter. Analyses showed that the direct, significant relationships between
financial dissatisfaction and marital instability as well as between sexual dissatisfaction and
marital instability completely disappeared when healthy financial communication and
healthy relational communication were added to the model. Talking about money and sex in
healthy ways is a powerful resource in dealing with a couple's negative perceptions about
money and sex. When financial therapists teach clients to communicate better it is likely to
reduce marital instability.
Work-family conflict, surprisingly, predicted an increase in couple income rather than
a decrease. The explanation for this may be as simple as high-paying jobs are more stressful
and therefore are associated with greater work-family conflict. This association may also be
tied to workaholism or work-centeredness. Those who work to an extreme or put work first
may report both greater work-family conflict and higher income than those who have more
balanced lives.
Limitations
A limitation of the study is the use of new measures that have not yet proven their
validity or reliability. The following scales were created specifically for the Flourishing
Families dataset: sexual dissatisfaction, financial dissatisfaction, and financial
communication. Comparing results from this study to those of future research which employ
these scales will indicate whether they are reliable. Additionally, the financial dissatisfaction
measure may lack content validity. This measure includes only one question and therefore
may not cover all important aspects of the financial dissatisfaction construct. Including
additional questions that cover other aspects of this construct should be considered in future
research surrounding this topic. Another limitation of this study is that the analysis is cross-
sectional rather than longitudinal; thus, future research on this topic should include
longitudinal data to solidify the trends and findings of this paper.
A final limitation is that the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) on
Model 1 was .106, slightly higher than the commonly accepted cut off of .100. However, we
believe that the model is theoretically sound and that this one fit measure is reasonably
acceptable (see Gelman & Stern, 2006).
Implications for Financial Therapists
Based on the findings of this study and other associated findings, it is important that
financial therapists understand the basic value of creating more positive couple
communication about finances and sex. While communication conveys both positive and
negative perceptions of stressors, it also acts as a positive or negative relational process in
and of itself. The manner in which specific satisfactions or dissatisfactions are expressed
influences how spouses feel about their relationship. Because of this, couple communication
can either act as a resource to protect against stressors and negative perceptions
(dissatisfaction), or it can exacerbate stressors and negative perceptions. Communication
can either alleviate or aggravate marital crisis.
In the dated but still most recent ranking of presenting issues for couples therapy,
Whisman, Dixon, and Johnson (1997) found that communication and money management
were both highly ranked in terms of frequency of occurrence (first and seventh,
respectively). Further rankings of treatment difficulty and “damaging impact” indicated that
couple therapists considered communication problems to be the third most problematic
issue. The current study's finding that communication (financial and relational) fully
mediates the relationship between a number of predictors and the outcome of marital
instability offers further evidence for the importance of attending to communication when
working with couples.
Additional research is needed to examine couple-level responsiveness to treatments
aimed at improving communication (financial and relational) and satisfaction levels
(financial and sexual). However, this study’s findings indicate that there are at least three
main topic areas that merit attention in financial therapy with couples. First, household
information regarding assets, liabilities, debt ratios, and income should be collected along
with several financially-related psychosocial factors (Lawson, Klontz, & Britt, 2015; Sages,
Griesdorn, Gudmunson, & Archuleta, 2015). Among the important psychosocial-financial
matters that are important to assess and intervene on (if necessary) are (a) money scripts
(beliefs or assumptions about money, developed early in life, that are often only partially
true); (b) financial anxiety; and (c) disordered financial behaviors (Lawson et al., 2015; Sages
et al., 2015). As couples increase their financial literacy and understanding about past
financial issues, financial satisfaction levels are likely to increase accordingly.
Second, findings here suggest the value in focusing attention on improving couple
satisfaction levels (sexual and financial). Sexual dissatisfaction levels, depending on severity,
may be better addressed by a marriage and family therapist or certified sex therapist;
however, this study's findings do indicate that it would be important for couples to focus on
managing stress (financial and otherwise) and prioritizing regular sexual intimacy. In terms
of financial satisfaction, a recent study found that perceived income adequacy (a subjective
evaluation of the sufficiency of income to meet household expenses) was related to financial
satisfaction levels, and the authors suggest that satisfaction is more likely to be determined
by an individual’s perception of income adequacy rather than their objective income level
(Grable, Cupples, Fernatt, & Anderson, 2013).
Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
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Complicating this issue for financial therapists working with couples is that
distressed couples can often be characterized by a perception mismatch, with one partner
having an accurate perception of income adequacy while the other partner does not. As a
corrective measure, Grable et al. (2013) recommends having direct conversations about the
consumer’s perception of income adequacy, with explicit attention given to objective factors
such as their earnings and standard of living. In addition, based on his clinical work with
high-conflict couples, the fourth author also recommends the following: (a) reframing the
current financial situation as an opportunity to test themselves as individuals and as a
couple, (b) externalizing the income/debt crisis so they can work collaboratively against a
common enemy rather than be adversarial with one another, and (c) mapping out the
timeframe for implementing the financial plan and helping them celebrate each step they
make towards their goals.
The third area where financial therapists can help is skill building in terms of couple
financial communication and stress management. In a recent study of how communication
(both negative and positive) mediates the relationship between financial stress and
relationship satisfaction, Wilmarth, Nielsen, and Futris (2014) concluded that couples
benefit from “communication tips that facilitate both positive communication behaviors that
encourage cooperation and compromise and exchange strategies to minimize criticism,
defensiveness, and withdrawal” (p. 142). Financial therapists can facilitate better
communication by structuring consultation meetings with couples and setting the ground
rules for the type of communication patterns that are acceptable in the office and at home.
This can be done by coaching the couple through one or more budget meetings and by
establishing expectations for communication strategies such as: (a) active listening (one
partner speaking and the other partner listening and summarizing what was said,
alternating turns); (b) emphasizing financial cooperation rather than getting sidetracked
into accusatory blaming about past mismanagement; and (c) highlighting any signs of
progress in individual or couple financial responsibility.
In terms of formalized interventions for more severe problem levels, there are
numerous communication training programs, but very few of them have a consistent record
of empirical support and long-term follow-up (see the work of John Gottman as one key
exception: e.g., Navarra et al., 2016). In contrast, considerably more stress management
programs have documented success in being administered and adopted by clinical and non-
clinical populations (Feldman, Eisenberg, Gambini-Sudrez, & Nassau, 2007); consequently,
financial therapists can feel confident in recommending strategies for managing stress (e.g.,
meditation, progressive relaxation, mindfulness). Finally, as noted above in the case of sexual
dissatisfaction, referrals to trained couple therapists are encouraged when levels of
miscommunication, stress, or marital instability reach non-normative levels and/or when
they interrupt the couple’s ability to address and solve their financial predicament.
CONCLUSION
This study starts to answer three important questions. Do money and sex influence
marital instability? The answer is, "Yes." How? The answer is, "Financial stressors lead to
perceptions of financial and sexual dissatisfaction, which in turn lead to greater marital
instability." How can financial therapists address these problems? The answer is, "By
focusing on helping their clients to communicate more productively about financial and
sexual matters." There is still much to learn about these associations, but this study extends
the field's understanding of how to make the influence of money and sex on marriage more
positive.
Journal of Financial Therapy Volume 8, Issue 1 (2017)
ISSN: 1945-7774
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... Establishing a mutual understanding regarding money and sex is one of the most important tasks newly-married couples face. Both financial and sexual factors show strong links to marital outcomes such as marital satisfaction or instability (Hill et al. 2017;Leavitt et al. 2019). Recent research suggests that marital issues surrounding finances and sex are correlated (Leavitt et al. 2019), though study of this specific association is in its infancy. ...
... This model includes the moderating roles of financial communication, sexual communication, and general communication. Figure 1 provides a succinct conceptualization of the longitudinal model, and With the potential for economic pressure to be a longlasting source of strain (Papp et al. 2009), and based on past research finding links between finances and sexual interactions (Hill et al. 2017;Wheeler and Kerpelman 2016), we broadly hypothesize a negative association between economic pressure and sexual interaction, including contemporaneous associations and longitudinal associations up to 1 year (H1). Prior research finds positive effects of sexual communication (Rehman et al. 2011), and relational communication (Mark and Jozkowski 2013) on couple sexual outcomes. ...
... Responses answered with a Likert scale ranging from one (never) to seven (more than once a day). This commonly used, one item measure originated from the relationship evaluation questionnaire (RELATE; Busby et al. 2001) and identifies the occurrence of sexual activity within their relationship (e.g., Hill et al. 2017;McNulty and Fisher 2008;Willoughby et al. 2014). Sexual satisfaction was measured as a latent variable (4 items) using well-established measures (Busby et al. 2001) that examine the quality of sexual intimacy in the couple's relationship. ...
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This study longitudinally examined the sexual costs of economic distress in newlywed couple relationships. Family stress theory posits an association between economic pressure and family relationships. The ability of financial strain to contaminate non-financial aspects of a marriage is troubling considering that many newlyweds report difficulty with financial adjustments after marriage. Positive communication may be a skill that enables young couples to alleviate economic pressure, and the study evaluated the moderating roles of financial communication, sexual communication, and relational communication. Utilizing an actor-partner interdependence moderation model, hypotheses were tested using dyadic data from 2044 couples from a nationally representative sample of newlywed couples in 2017–2018 in the United States. We found that economic pressure of both partners negatively associated with their own contemporaneous sexual satisfaction, but not their partner’s. In addition, we found weak links over time for wives only. Financial communication attenuated the negative effects when husbands and wives experienced economic pressure. Financial communication by a partner protected against negative sexual consequences for wives when that partner experienced economic pressure. Additionally, strong financial communication by wives protected wives from negative sexual consequences of their husbands’ economic pressure. The findings align with family stress theory; specifically, communication may be a resource that helps couples adapt to negative financial stress.
... Some studies nonetheless provide indirect support for this association. For instance, dissatisfaction with the frequency of sexual activity and discrepancy between desired and actual sexual frequency have been found to be associated with higher relational instability (Hill, Allsop, LeBaron, & Bean, 2017;Willoughby, Farero, & Busby, 2014). These studies, however, were all conducted in community samples. ...
... More specifically, as hypothesized, higher attachment avoidance, lower perceived partner support and lower sexual satisfaction were all associated with individuals being more likely to think about ending their relationship and to engage in actions that often precede separation. These findings are in line with previous studies showing links between avoidance and separation (Davila & Bradbury, 2001;Fagundes & Schindler, 2012), and demonstrating the key roles of partner support and sexual satisfaction for relationship stability (Hill et al., 2017;Hohmann-Marriott, 2005;Lavner & Bradbury, 2012;Lorenz et al., 2001;Yabiku & Gager, 2009;Yucel, 2016). But beyond the direct association between attachment avoidance and relational instability, a novel contribution of this study is the identification of sexual satisfaction and perceived partner support as two intermediary variables of this association. ...
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Attachment theory postulates that three behavioral systems-attachment, caregiving, and sex-are essential for optimal relationship functioning in couples. We examined the contribution of attachment insecurities, perceived partner support, and sexual satisfaction to relational instability in 274 couples seeking relationship therapy. The results underscore the importance of all three systems for relationship stability, showing that for both men and women, avoidance of intimacy, low perceived partner support, and low sexual satisfaction were significant and concurrent predictors of relational instability. As such, intervening on factors associated with all three behavioral systems might help reduce relationship instability in couples experiencing relationship distress.
... Nevertheless, perception of influence may be more important than actual influence rendered. Indeed, an individual's belief or perception about an event often has much greater influence on behaviors and attitudes than what actually occurred (Hill et al., 2017). Additionally, social media has been found to influence spending behaviors and thus should be included as a socialization agent in future studies (Thoumrungroje, 2018;Wang et al., 2012). ...
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Using consumer socialization theory, this study examined the associations between perceived influence of parents, peers, employment, and media and spending behaviors of emerging adult college students from three different regions of the US: Northeast, South Atlantic, and Mountain regions. Data from the Emerging Adult Financial Capability Study ( N = 2,322) were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Greater parental and employment influences perceived by the students were linked with more responsible spending behaviors, while greater peer and media influences were associated with less responsible spending behaviors. This study highlights the importance of the home and the workplace as the nexus for financial learning. This knowledge can help focus efforts to help future emerging adult college students learn responsible spending behaviors.
... Financial concerns are the fifth major theme that emerged in the current study. This is consistent with research by Hill et al. (2017), who found that financial stress is negatively correlated with relationship and sexual satisfaction in couples, and predicts marital instability. They also found that healthy couple communication can eliminate this negative effect. ...
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This phenomenological study investigated the lived experien�ces of Iranian women who had engaged in an extramarital affair. Seventeen women participated in semi-structured inter�views at a residential center for women in Ahvaz Iran. Questions focused on the circumstances and marital experien�ces that participants felt contributed to their infidelity, as well as information about how the affair began and was main�tained. Six main themes emerged: wives’ emotional issues, cul�tural and social factors, substance abuse, husbands’ psychological issues, financial concerns, and sexual concerns. Findings may be useful in designing education for couples and families that may help prevent the occurrence of mari�tal infidelit
... Provisional answers exist in literature showing that physical abuse [12], financial problems [13,14], infertility [15], infidelity [15,16], and personality conflicts [17] contribute to divorce. Although it is important to understand relationship-level variables that can cause relationships to erode, which is typical in the literature, it can obscure the fact that divorce typically does not occur because a relationship falls apart; instead, it typically occurs because one partner decides to leave [18,9]. ...
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In Western dual-educated, male-female marriages, women who divorce face greater burdens because of decreased income and primary or sole responsibility for caring for children than men who divorce. Why, then, do these women initiate divorce more and fare better psychologically after a divorce than men? Here, we articulate an evolutionary mismatch perspective, informed by key findings in relationship science. We argue that mismatches between women's evolved preferences and configurations of modern marriage often clash, producing dissatisfaction. Women's unprecedented career ascendance also affords women ever more freedom to leave. We discuss pressures from social expectations for men and women that contribute to or compound these vulnerabilities. We conclude with key questions for future research, which can contribute to strategies for mitigating relationship dissatisfaction and the profound loss and pain that results from divorce.
... A significant body of research has demonstrated the applicability of the ABC-X model to issues of financial stress (Asebedo & Wilmarth, 2017;Britt et al., 2016;Hill et al., 2017;Steen & MacKenzie, 2013). The ABC-X model was deployed in the current study to organize and explore various factors influencing the experience of family conflict with respect to student loans, specifically spousal conflict and parent-child conflict. ...
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As college costs rise in the United States, many parents are forced to make difficult decisions about how to pay for their children’s higher education. Stress and conflict accompany financial issues and play a role in the financial picture for many families. Using Hill’s (Hill, Social casework 39:139–150, 1958) ABC-X model of family stress as a framework, this study describes results of a national survey of parents contributing to student loan payments for their child’s education and explores how this experience may play a role in familial conflict. Findings suggest marked gender differences in the relationship between contribution reason and the experience of conflict. Results also carry implications for financial professionals, suggesting a need for family-focused and gender-conscious financial education both before and during the student loan repayment process.
... Financial concerns are the fifth major theme that emerged in the current study. This is consistent with research by Hill et al. (2017), who found that financial stress is negatively correlated with relationship and sexual satisfaction in couples, and predicts marital instability. They also found that healthy couple communication can eliminate this negative effect. ...
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This phenomenological study investigated the lived experiences of Iranian women who had engaged in an extramarital affair. Seventeen women participated in semi-structured interviews at a residential center for women in Ahvaz Iran. Questions focused on the circumstances and marital experiences that participants felt contributed to their infidelity, as well as information about how the affair began and was maintained. Six main themes emerged: wives’ emotional issues, cultural and social factors, substance abuse, husbands’ psychological issues, financial concerns, and sexual concerns. Findings may be useful in designing education for couples and families that may help prevent the occurrence of marital infidelity.
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In couple relationships, discussing finances is often considered taboo. Specifically, emerging adult couples experience several unique financial challenges that may contribute to poorer financial communication and pose relational risks. Utilizing structural equation modeling with a sample of 1,950 U.S. emerging adults, the current study tests associations between the time of a couple’s first financial discussion, financial communication, relationship quality, and financial conflict. Results indicate that initiating financial discussion earlier in a romantic relationship may benefit relationship quality—through financial communication. However, having an earlier first financial discussion as a couple was also positively associated with financial conflict. Financial therapists might consider teaching emerging adult couples to have a first financial discussion earlier along with strategies to overcome financial conflict. Additionally, financial therapists may consider assessing when emerging adult couples first discussed finances in their relationship. Overall, our findings suggest the sooner an emerging adult couple discusses finances, the better.
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Using data from the 2018 FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), this study examined how financial stress and financial behavior are associated with financial satisfaction among married individuals. As expected, financial stress had a significant and negative impact on financial satisfaction, suggesting that financial stress significantly decreased the level of financial satisfaction among married individuals. Despite its significant impact, financial stress was not the dominant factor in this study; but financial behavior had the most significant impact on financial satisfaction, followed by subjective financial knowledge and higher level of household income. Understanding significant predictors of financial satisfaction among married individuals can provide important insights for marriage and financial counselors, financial educators, as well as marriage and family therapists.
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This chapter overviews why assessment is important in financial therapy and reviews six research-validated financial therapy assessment instruments that have undergone the rigors of peer-review in academic journals. Each instrument is described in detail, including its psychometric properties, and can be useful for practitioners to implement into their practice with clients and scholars to utilize in research studies.
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We examined the interplay between husbands' and wives' positive and negative nonsexual interpersonal behaviors, frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual satisfaction, and feelings of marital satisfaction. To do this, we conducted an in-depth face-to-face interview and completed a series of telephone diaries with 105 couples during their second, third, and fourteenth years of marriage. Consistent with the argument that women's sexual response is tied to intimacy (Basson, 2000), multilevel analyses revealed that husbands' positive interpersonal behaviors directed toward their wives-but not wives' positivity nor spouses' negative behaviors (regardless of gender)-predicted the frequency with which couples engaged in intercourse. The frequency of sexual intercourse and interpersonal negativity predicted both husbands' and wives' sexual satisfaction; wives' positive behaviors were also tied to husbands' sexual satisfaction. When spouses' interpersonal behaviors, frequency of sexual intercourse, and sexual satisfaction were considered in tandem, all but the frequency of sexual intercourse were associated with marital satisfaction. When it comes to feelings of marital satisfaction, therefore, a satisfying sex life and a warm interpersonal climate appear to matter more than does a greater frequency of sexual intercourse. Collectively, these findings shed much-needed light on the interplay between the nonsexual interpersonal climate of marriage and spouses' sexual relationships.
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Numerous studies have focused on the intergenerational transmission of poverty, financial stress, and family functioning. Other research has shown how financial stressors can predict various family processes, including parent–child interactions, family conflict, and couple communication, and relationship outcomes, including marital stability and satisfaction. This study shows continued evidence that financial stress from the male and female partner’s family of origin may predict marital dissatisfaction using dyadic data techniques. Also, an exploration of indirect paths also found that the presence of current financial stress partially mediates these associations. 2015
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p> Recent studies have suggested that relative to other types of marital disagreement, financial disagreements are more problematic for couples. Using data from the National Survey of Families and Households (N = 3,861 couples), we tested whether different types of marital disagreements predicted self-reported marital conflict tactics. Considering the findings overall, financial disagreements were among the consistent top predictors of conflict tactics, including using heated arguments more frequently than calm discussion. Contrary to previous studies, however, disagreements over housework also predicted conflict tactics about as strongly as financial disagreements. Husbands’ reports of financial disagreements were more closely associated with conflict tactics than wives’ reports. </p
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Sexuality is an integral part of intimate relationships, yet surprisingly little is known about how and for whom sexuality matters. The present research investigated the interplay of sexual and non-sexual factors that contribute to relationship satisfaction. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that the association between sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction is mediated by a non-sexual factor-namely, perceived partner responsiveness (PPR). Additionally, we tested the role of gender as a possible moderator of this mediated association. Thirty-four newlywed couples completed diaries with each spouse reporting their sexual satisfaction, marital satisfaction, and PPR every day for 30 days. We tested our predictions at both the person level (i.e., the mean level across 30 days) and the daily level. At the person level, we found that sexual satisfaction and PPR separately predicted marital satisfaction. Moreover, the effect of sexual satisfaction on marital satisfaction was partially mediated by PPR. No gender differences emerged at this level. At the daily level, we found similar support for partial mediation. However, at this level, gender did serve as a moderator. The stronger mediation found for women was driven by a stronger association between sexual satisfaction and PPR for women than for men. This study joins a growing literature highlighting the role of PPR in dyadic relationships.
Chapter
This chapter reviews the literature on money scripts. Money scripts are those typically unconscious, contextually bound, partially true beliefs about money that are developed in childhood and drive adult financial behaviors. Four categories of money scripts will be highlighted: Money worship, money status, money avoidance, and money vigilance. Techniques for identifying, challenging, and changing money scripts will be presented.
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This main aim of this paper is to evaluate the predictors of marital instability among married individuals living in Northern Cyprus, by focusing on socio-economic, attitudinal, psychological, and relationship-specific factors. To fulfill this goal, the study analyzes survey data from 496 married individuals living in the major cities of Northern Cyprus. Using logistic regression analyses, this paper specifically considers the role of gender, education, presence of preschool children living in the household, native-born status, marital history, annual household income, depression, gender ideology, marital duration, marital interaction, marital conflict, sexual satisfaction, satisfaction with the division of household labor at home, and overall marital satisfaction. Our results suggest that relationship-specific indicators are the most important correlates of marital instability. Specifically, higher levels of marital satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, and less marital conflict are significantly correlated with higher marital stability among married individuals. In addition, those who are in longer marriages also report more stable marriages. Lastly, higher levels of depression and more egalitarian gender ideology are both significantly correlated with less marital stability, but these two effects are modest.
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This study examined communication, suspicion, and stability in marriage from the standpoint experience of married women in two private universities in Ogun State. Two hundred married female respondents were randomly selected using stratified random sampling technique. Family Assessment Device, a subscale of McMaster Family Functioning Scales and Factors Affecting Marital Stability Questionnaire (FAMSQ) were used to measure communication, suspicion, and stability in marriage. Findings from the study revealed that marital suspicion determine stability more than communication and the main implications of these findings are that suspicion in marriage and communication affect stability negatively. It was therefore recommended that government should use the mass media to create massive awareness on the need to improve communication in homes and discourage suspicion, recruit professional counsellors, psychologists and social workers to attend to various needs of couples and intending couples. Gender & Behaviour Vol. 6 (2) 2008: pp. 1765-1784
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Demands employers place on professionals may make wives in two-person careers particularly vulnerable to the stressors associated with relocation. Using the Double ABCX model of family stress and adaptation, this paper identifies factors that are associated with successful adaptation to frequent involuntary relocation among clergy families. Wives reported significantly higher stress, more negative perceptions of their most recent relocation, lower coping resources, and lower well-being than did their clergy husbands.