Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 37–58 | Cite as

The Dyadic Nature of Relationships: Relationship Satisfaction among Married and Cohabiting Couples

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Abstract

Using data from the 2010 Married and Cohabiting Couples survey, this study tests the correlates of relationship satisfaction among 752 married couples and 323 cohabiting couples, using the social exchange framework and the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). Specifically, it considers how conflict in work-family balance, fairness in the division of paid and unpaid work at home, and prior relationship history are associated with relationship satisfaction. Dyadic data analysis with structural equation modeling is used to determine the respective contributions of each respondent’s predictors (i.e., actor effects) and his/her spouse’s or partner’s predictors (i.e., partner effects). No gender differences in actor and partner effects emerge, yet the actor and partner effects remain distinct for both groups. Fairness in the division of paid and unpaid work at home, as well as less conflict in balancing work and family responsibilities, act as rewards for both married and cohabiting couples. Prior relationship history does not have any significant actor effects for either group, but the partner effects are significant for cohabiting couples. Some of these results suggest that relationship dynamics differ between married and cohabiting couples. Specifically, the negative partner effects of both prior relationship history and conflict in work-family balance on relationship satisfaction are significantly stronger among cohabiting couples than among married couples.

Keywords

Relationship satisfaction Dyadic data analysis Married couples Cohabiting couples 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyWilliam Paterson University of New JerseyWayneUSA

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