Money Over Marriage: Marriage Importance as a Mediator Between Materialism and Marital Satisfaction

  • Ashley B. LeBaron
  • Heather H. Kelley
  • Jason S. Carroll
Original Paper


While the negative relationship between materialism and marital satisfaction is well documented, mediators that possibly explain this association have not been widely explored. Based on the Incompatibility of Materialism and Children Model and Marital Paradigms Theory, this article explores the perception of marriage importance as a potential mediator between materialism and marital satisfaction. Using a sample of 1310 married individuals, we found evidence of partial mediation in that materialism was negatively associated with perception of marriage importance, and this association partially explained why being materialistic was associated with lower marital satisfaction. Thus, as counselors, therapists, and financial planners work with married clients, it is important that they consider how their clients’ materialistic tendencies may influence the family both financially and relationally. Suggestions for future research are discussed.


Family finance Materialism Financial therapy Financial planning Marital satisfaction Marital centrality 



We would like to thank Dr. Sarah Coyne, Dr. Brian Willoughby, and Nathan Leonhardt for their helpful reviews of earlier drafts. We would like to thank Dr. Jeremy Yorgason, Dr. Joseph Olsen, and Dr. Spencer James for their statistical counsel. Finally, we would like to thank Dr. Jeff Hill and Dr. Loren Marks for their encouragement and support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Ashley LeBaron declares that she has no conflict of interest. Heather Kelley declares that she has no conflict of interest. Jason Carroll declares that he has 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.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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