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The Effects of Children, Dual Earner Status, Sex Role Traditionalism, and Marital Structure on Marital Happiness Over Time

Abstract

In this study, the link between marital happiness and the advent of children is demonstrated, accounting for dual earner status, sex role traditionalism, and marital structure. A subset of 1,275 respondents from a longitudinal data set (Marital Instability Over the Life Course: A Three Wave Panel Study, 1980–1988) whom remained married through the 3 waves was used to compare the level of marital happiness of respondents who added children between waves to those who did not. Although the addition of children negatively affected marital structure and thus indirectly lowered marital happiness, results showed children also had positive counterbalancing direct effects. Dual-earner status, income, and sex role nontraditionalism were shown to mitigate the negative effects of children on marital happiness.

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Tsang, L.L.W., Harvey, C.D.H., Duncan, K.A. et al. The Effects of Children, Dual Earner Status, Sex Role Traditionalism, and Marital Structure on Marital Happiness Over Time. Journal of Family and Economic Issues 24, 5–26 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022478919443

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  • children
  • dual earner status
  • marital happiness
  • marital structure
  • sex role traditionalism