Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 658–672 | Cite as

Economic Hardship, Financial Distress, and Marital Quality: The Role of Relational Aggression

  • Brandan E. WheelerEmail author
  • Jennifer L. Kerpelman
  • Jeremy B. Yorgason
Original Paper


The model of economic hardship (Conger et al. 1990) guided the current longitudinal study examining whether perceptions of relational aggression (love withdrawal/social sabotage) mediated the relationship between financial distress and marital quality concurrently (2009) and over 2 subsequent years (2010 & 2011). A modified dyadic longitudinal mediation model explored associations among 335 two-parent, heterosexual, married households following the recent economic recession. Data from three waves (2009, 2010, & 2011) of the Flourishing Families Project revealed that perceptions of social sabotage and love withdrawal partially mediated the relationships between both spouses’ financial distress and both spouses’ marital quality in 2009, but not in 2010 or 2011. Other findings, including indirect effects, and implications for research and practice are discussed.


Economic hardship Financial distress Relational aggression Marriage 



No funding was received for this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Brandan E. Wheeler, Jennifer Kerpelman, and Jeremy B. Yorgason declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10834_2019_9632_MOESM1_ESM.docx (162 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 162 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human SciencesMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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