Feminism and Couple Finance: Power as a Mediator Between Financial Processes and Relationship Outcomes
- 122 Downloads
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.
KeywordsFeminism 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 of participants was used in data collection.
- Barnett, O., & LaViolette, A. (1993). It could happen to anyone: Why battered women stay. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Bernasek, A., & Bajtelsmit, V. L. (2002). Predictors of women’s involvement in household financial decision-making. Financial Counseling and Planning, 13, 39–47 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2ce1/90220e9a76dc3511d386dd41d71c39a684c1.pdf.Google Scholar
- Blumstein, P., & Schwartz, P. (1983). American couples. New York, NY: William Morrow.Google Scholar
- Britt, S. L., Hill, E. J., LeBaron, A. B., Lawson, D. R., & Bean, R. A. (2017). Tightwads and spenders: Predicting financial conflict in couple relationships. Journal of Financial Planning, 30(5), 36–42. https://www.onefpa.org/journal/Pages/MAY17-Tightwads-and-Spenders-Predicting-Financial-Conflict-in-Couple-Relationships.aspx.Google Scholar
- Conroy, A. A., McGrath, N., van Rooyen, H., Hosegood, V., Johnson, M. O., Fritz, K., ... Darbes, L. A. (2016). Power and the association with relationship quality in South African couples: Implications for HIV/AIDS interventions. Social Science & Medicine, 153, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cromwell, R. F., & Olsen, D. H. (1975). Power in families. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Gottman, J. M. (2011). The science of trust: Emotional attunement for couples. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Gudmunson, C. G., Beutler, I. F., Israelsen, C. L., McCoy, J. K., & Hill, E. J. (2007). Linking financial strain to marital instability: Examining the roles of emotional distress and marital interaction. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28(3), 357–376. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-007-9074-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lawrence, E., Bunde, M., Barry, R., Brock, R., Sullivan, K., Pasch, L., . . . Adams, E. (2008). Partner support and marital satisfaction: Support amount, adequacy, provision, and solicitation. Personal Relationships, 15, 445–463. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00209.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lindahl, K. M., Malik, N. M., Kaczynski, K., & Simons, J. S. (2004). Couple power dynamics, systemic family functioning, and child adjustment: A test of a mediational model in a multiethnic sample. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 609–630. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0954579404004699.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Little, T. D. (2013). Longitudinal structural equation modeling. New York City: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Nock, S. L. (1998). Marriage in men’s lives. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). Married-couple households by labor force status of spouse: 1990 to 2009. Labor force, employment, and earnings U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical abstract of the United States. Retrieved from https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/2010/compendia/statab/130ed/tables/11s0600.pdf.