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Can Stress Build Relationships? Predictors of Increased Marital Commitment Resulting from the 2007–2009 Recession


Although some studies have examined factors that can help married couples maintain their relationship quality during financial stress, few have examined factors that might actually help marriages flourish during financial stress. This study examined participants’ reports of their commitment increasing because of the 2007–2009 Recession using dyadic data from a national sample of married couples. We found that religious marital sanctification, relationship maintenance behaviors, and social and financial support from family and friends were all related to both wives’ and husbands’ reports that their commitment had increased during the Recession. Wives who faced employment- or housing-related problems reported increased commitment. Finally, the more economic pressure participants felt during the Recession, the more their relationship commitment increased.

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  1. In this study, dollars or the $ symbol indicate US dollars/currency.


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This data used in this study were collected using a grant funded by The Science of Generosity Initiative at the University of Notre Dame.

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Correspondence to Jeffrey Dew.

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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.

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Dew, J., LeBaron, A. & Allsop, D. Can Stress Build Relationships? Predictors of Increased Marital Commitment Resulting from the 2007–2009 Recession. J Fam Econ Iss 39, 405–421 (2018).

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