Wives' employment and spouses' marital happiness: Assessing the direction of influence using longitudinal couple data

Robert Schoen, Stacy J. Rogers, Paul R. Amato

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Abstract

The authors investigate the direction of the relationship between marital happiness and wives' full-time employment using the 1987 to 1988 and 1992 to 1994 waves of the National Survey of Families and Households. First, the authors predict change in wives' employment between the two waves using marital happiness and other Time 1 characteristics. The results show that shifting into full-time employment is more likely for unhappily married than for happily married wives. Second, they examine how changes in wives' employment between Times 1 and 2 influence marital stability and changes in marital happiness. The authors find that contrary to frequently invoked social and economic theories, wives' full-time employment is associated with greater marital stability. Nonetheless, changes in wives' employment have no significant effect on how marital quality changes between Times 1 and 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-528
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 25 2006

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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