Sex Roles

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Feminism and Couple Finance: Power as a Mediator Between Financial Processes and Relationship Outcomes

  • Ashley B. LeBaronEmail author
  • Erin K. Holmes
  • Jeremy B. Yorgason
  • E. Jeffrey Hill
  • David B. Allsop
Original Article


Feminism is rarely used as a theoretical framework for couple finance research. The purposes of the present paper are (a) to discuss couple finance research in the context of feminism to encourage more frequent and explicit use of feminism in couple finance research, (b) to present a gender and couple finances model, and (c) to test this model with longitudinal dyadic data. Using actor-partner interdependence models (APIM) and data from 327 U.S. mixed-gender couples, relational power was explored as a potential mediator between four couple financial processes (earners of money, access to money, management of money, and conflict about money) and two relationship outcomes (relationship quality and relationship stability). Results suggest that couple financial processes are associated with relationship outcomes and with joint management as well as low conflict being key longitudinally. Additionally, although power may not play a mediating role, it appears to be connected to couple financial processes and relationship outcomes concurrently. Gender differences as well as both actor and partner effects are explored. This research has implications for researchers, clinicians, and educators. For example, clinicians may want to encourage their clients to use joint bank accounts, manage their money jointly, and minimize financial conflict. Gender, and therefore power, are inseparably tied to couple finances. When both spouses are involved in financial processes, partners tend to be more empowered, and relationship quality and stability tend to be higher.


Feminism Couple finance Power Family finance Gender equality Relationship quality Relationship stability Income Bank accounts Money management Financial conflict 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

We have no conflicts of interest to report.

Informed Consent

Informed consent of participants was used in data collection.

Supplementary material

11199_2018_986_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 30.7 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norton School of Family & Consumer SciencesThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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