Sex Roles

, Volume 67, Issue 5–6, pp 311–322

Masculinity Ideology, Income Disparity, and Romantic Relationship Quality Among Men with Higher Earning Female Partners

Original Article

Abstract

This research assessed factors that may affect men’s heterosexual romantic relationships in which their partner earns a greater income. Forty-seven men from the United States completed measures that assessed masculinity ideology, the importance of the partner’s greater income, and romantic relationship quality. We examined whether the perceived importance of the income disparity mediated the relationship between men’s masculinity ideology and the quality of their romantic relationships. Using multiple regression analyses to test for mediation, results showed the relationship between masculinity ideology and romantic relationship quality was due in part to the importance one placed on the difference in income. Specifically, men who were more traditional in their masculinity ideology and have higher earning female partners were more likely to have poor quality romantic relationships in part because such men view the disparity in income as having importance. Conversely, results showed men who were more nontraditional in their masculinity were more likely to perceive the disparity in income as having little or no importance and have high romantic relationship quality.

Keywords

Masculinity Relationship satisfaction Romantic relationship Marital quality Breadwinner role 

References

  1. Baron, R. M., & Kenney, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182. doi:10.1037//0022-3514.51.6.1173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blumstein, P., & Schwartz, P. (1985). American couples: Money, work, and sex. New York: Pocket Books.Google Scholar
  3. Brannon, R. (1976). The male sex role: Our culture’s blueprint for manhood, what it’s done for us lately. In D. David & R. Brannon (Eds.), The forty-nine percent majority: The male sex role (pp. 1–49). Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  4. Brennan, R. T., Barnett, R. C., & Gareis, K. C. (2001). When she earns more than he does: A longitudinal study of dual-earner couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 168–182. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00168.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burn, S. M., & Ward, A. Z. (2005). Men’s conformity to traditional masculinity and relationship satisfaction. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 6, 254–263. doi:10.1037/1524-9220.6.4.254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, S., & Willis, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310–357. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.98.2.310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohn D., & Fry, R. (2010, January 19). Women, men and the new economics of marriage. Pew Research Center: A Social & Demographic Trends Report. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  8. David, D., & Brannon, R. (1976). The forty-nine percent majority: The male sex role. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  9. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302. doi:10.1037//0033-2909.125.2.276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Donaghue, N., & Fallon, B. J. (2003). Gender-role self-stereotyping and the relationship between equity and satisfaction in close relationships. Sex Roles, 48, 217–230. doi:10.1023/A:1022869203900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Female Power. (2009, December 30). The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/15174418?story_id=15174418.
  12. Fogarty, T. (1979). The distancer and the pursuer. The Family, 7, 11–16.Google Scholar
  13. Fouad, N. A., & Tinsley, H. E. A. (1997). Work-family balance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50, 141–144. doi:10.1006/jvbe.1996.1579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Franklin, C. (1984). The changing definition of masculinity. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Garthoeffner, J. L., Henry, C. S., & Robinson, L. C. (1993). The modified interpersonal relationships scale: Reliability and validity. Psychological Reports, 73, 995–1004. doi:10.2466/pr0.1993.73.3.995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Grable, J. E., Britt, S., & Cantrell, J. (2007). An exploratory study of the role financial satisfaction has on the thought of subsequent divorce. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 36, 130–150. doi:10.1177/1077727X07309284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harrell, W. A. (1990). Husband’s masculinity, wife’s power and marital conflict. Social Behavior and Personality, 18, 207–216. doi:10.2224/sbp.1990.18.2.207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harris, I. M. (1995). Messages men hear. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  19. Kiselica, M. S., & Englar-Carlson, M. (2010). Identifying, affirming, and building upon male strengths: The positive psychology/positive masculinity model of psychotherapy with boys and men. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 47, 276–287. doi:10.1037/a0021159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Levant, R. F., & Richmond, K. (2007). A review of research on masculinity ideologies using the Male Role Norms Inventory. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 15, 130–146. doi:10.3149/jms.1502.130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Levant, R. F., Hirsch, L., Celentano, E., Cozza, T., Hill, S., MacEachern, M., Marty, N., & Schnedeker, J. (1992). The male role: An investigation of norms and stereotypes. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 14, 325–337.Google Scholar
  22. Lewis, R. A., & Spanier, G. B. (1979). Theorizing about the quality and stability of marriage. In W. R. Burr, R. Hill, F. I. Nye, & I. L. Reiss (Eds.), Contemporary theories about the family (vol. 2, pp. 268–294). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  23. Liu, W. (2002). Exploring the lives of Asian American men: Racial identity, male role norms, gender role conflict, and prejudicial attitudes. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 3, 107–118. doi:10.1037//1524-9220.3.2.107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lowell, J. B. (1996). Perceptions of negotiating power in dual income couples where the wife earns more in contrast to dual income couples where the husband earns more. Dissertation Abstracts International, 56(10), 5837.Google Scholar
  25. Maurer, T. W., & Pleck, J. H. (2006). Fathers’ care giving and breadwinning: A gender congruence analysis. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 7, 101–112. doi:10.1037/1524-9220.7.2.101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McDermott, R. C., & Joshi, S. (2008). Masculine gender role dogmatism and the development of the MGDI. Paper presented at the 116th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  27. Mcgraw, S. L. (2001). Masculinity ideologies, men’s relationship behavior, and relationship satisfaction in heterosexual couple relationships. Dissertation Abstracts International, 62(3), 1588B.Google Scholar
  28. Moore, K. A., McCabe, M. P., & Brink, R. B. (2001). Are married couples happier in their relationships than cohabiting couples? Intimacy and relationship factors. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 16, 35–46. doi:10.1080/14681990125384.Google Scholar
  29. O’Neil, J. M. (1981). Patterns of gender role conflict and strain: Sexism and fear of femininity in men’s lives. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Personnel and Guidance Association, St. Louis.Google Scholar
  30. O’Neil, J. M., Helms, B., Gable, R., David, L., & Wrightsman, L. (1986). Gender role conflict scale: College men’s fear of femininity. Sex Roles, 14, 335–350. doi:10.1007/BF00287583.Google Scholar
  31. Pleck, J. H. (1981). The myth of masculinity. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  32. Pleck, J. H. (1995). The gender role strain paradigm: An update. In R. F. Levant & W. S. Pollack (Eds.), A new psychology of men (pp. 11–32). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  33. Pleck, J. H., Sonenstein, F. L., & Ku, L. C. (1993). Masculinity ideology: Its impact on adolescent males’ heterosexual relationships. Journal of Social Issues, 49, 11–29. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1993.tb01166.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36, 717–731. doi:10.3758/BF03206553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rogers, S. J., & DeBoer, D. D. (2001). Changes in wives’ income: Effects on marital happiness, psychological well-being, and the risk of divorce. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 63, 458–472. doi:10.1111/j.1741-737.2001.00458.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rook, K. S., & Pietromonaco, P. (1987). Close relationships: Ties that heal or ties that bind? Advances in Personal Relationships, 1, 1–35.Google Scholar
  37. Rudman, L. A., & Phelan, J. E. (2007). The interpersonal power of feminism: Is feminism good for romantic relationships? Sex Roles, 57, 787–799. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9319-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schlein, S., Guerney, B. G., Jr., & Stover, L. (1990). The interpersonal relationships scale. In J. Touliatos, B. F. Perlmutter, & M. A. Straus (Eds.), Handbook of family measurement techniques. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Schuster, T. L., Kessler, R. C., & Aseltine, R. H. (1990). Supportive interactions, negative interactions, and depressed mood. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 423–437. doi:10.1007/BF00938116.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Siavelis, R. L., & Lamke, L. K. (1992). Instrumentalness and expressiveness: Predictors of heterosexual relationship satisfaction. Sex Roles, 26, 149–159. doi:10.1007/BF00289755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sinn, J. S. (1997). The predictive and discriminant validity of masculinity ideology. Journal of Research in Personality, 31, 117–135. doi:10.1006/jrpe.1997.2172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Spanier, G. B., & Lewis, R. A. (1980). Marital quality: A review of the Seventies. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 42, 825–839. doi:10.2307/351827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sprecher, S., & Felmlee, D. (1997). The balance of power in romantic heterosexual couples over time from “his” and “hers” perspectives. Sex Roles, 37, 361–379. doi:10.1023/A:1025601423031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Taylor, S. E. (1995). Health psychology (3rd ed.). New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  45. Tichenor, V. (2005). Maintaining men’s dominance: Negotiating identity and power when she earns more. Sex Roles, 53, 191–205. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-5678-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Truman, D. M., Tokar, D. M., & Fischer, A. R. (1996). Dimensions of masculinity: Relations to date rape supportive attitudes and sexual aggression in dating situations. Journal of Counseling and Development, 74, 555–562. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.1996.tb02292.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011, December). Wives who earn more than their husbands, 1987–2009. Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (p. 78). Report 1034. U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2011.pdf.
  48. Wade, J. C. (2008). Masculinity ideology, male reference group identity dependence, and African American men’s health related attitudes and behaviors. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 9, 5–16. doi:10.1037/1524-9220.9.1.5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wade, J. C., & Brittan-Powell, C. S. (2001). Men’s attitudes toward race and gender equity: The importance of masculinity ideology, gender related traits, and reference group identity dependence. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 2, 42–50. doi:10.1037//1524-9220.2.1.42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wade, J. C., & Donis, E. (2007). Masculinity ideology, male identity and romantic relationship quality among heterosexual and gay men. Sex Roles, 57, 775–786. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9303-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Willis, T. A. (1985). Supportive functions of relationships. In S. Cohen & L. Syme (Eds.), Social support and health (pp. 61–82). New York: Academic.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentFordham UniversityBronxUSA

Personalised recommendations