Intimacy, Similarity, and Equality Among Married People in East Asia

Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 13)


This paper endeavors to examine personal intimacy by way of comparative investigation of the confiding behaviors of married men and women in East Asian societies. A number of hypotheses were derived from assortative marriage and pure relationships theories for empirical testing. Assortative marriage contends that similarity is a precondition to intimate disclosure, while pure relationship theory proposes equality to be a major determinant. Using data from the East Asian Social Survey collected in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and China, this study finds that educational and age assortative mating do not facilitate confiding of husbands and wives. In contrast, power sharing in decision-making produces consistent effects across four populations. Husbands’ contribution to housework also has favorable influence in Taiwan and Japan. This study concludes that husbands and wives are more willing to talk their feelings, emotions or troubles out when they are practicing equality on household behaviors. Assortative pairing on demographic background predicts less variation of intimacy among couples.


Marital satisfaction Assortative marriage Household division of labor Husband-wife relationship 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

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