Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 290–307

Marital Well-Being Over Time Among Black and White Americans: The First Seven Years


    • Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of Connecticut
  • Terri L. Orbuch
    • Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of Michigan
    • Department of SociologyOakland University
  • José A. Bauermeister
    • Department of Health Behavior and Health EducationUniversity of Michigan
  • Brandyn-Dior McKinley
    • Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of Connecticut

DOI: 10.1007/s12111-012-9234-1

Cite this article as:
Brown, E., Orbuch, T.L., Bauermeister, J.A. et al. J Afr Am St (2013) 17: 290. doi:10.1007/s12111-012-9234-1


We examined patterns of marital well-being over the first 7 years of marriage and whether factors connected to early marital well-being during year 1 impacted marital well-being over time. Data were collected as part of a longitudinal panel study following 199 Black American and 174 White American during the first 7 years of marriage. Multilevel growth curve modeling revealed that race, income, and premarital child affected husbands’ marital well-being in year 1. Education, wives’ employment status, and divorced parents influenced wives’ marital well-being at year 1. After accounting for differences in these early marital conditions, having a child before marriage was significant in predicting the rates of change over time for husbands. Divorced parents affected the rate of change in marital well-being for wives. The findings suggest that as couples settle into their marriages, risk factors have fewer consequences on marital well-being.


RaceBlack AmericansGenderMarriageLongitudinal researchMarital well-being

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012