Study of the Day: The Marital Problems of Materialistic Couples

More

New research from Brigham Young University suggests that, even when couples have aligned aspirations, money and marriage just don't mix

main Valerie Potapova shutterstock_86295478.jpg

PROBLEM: Previous research has shown that, in a marriage, more money may very well lead to more problems. It hasn't been clear, however, if materialism is a bane in all relationships or if it only becomes a setback when spouses disagree on the significance of wealth.

METHODOLOGY: Brigham Young University and William Paterson University scholars surveyed 3,468 married people to gauge the strength of their relationships, their financial standing, and their attitudes toward "having money and lots of things."

RESULTS: The researchers' statistical analysis showed that spouses who agree that money is not important to them scored about 10 to 15 percent better on measures of relationship quality and marriage stability than couples where at least one member admitted to being materialistic. Interestingly, the couples that reported a shared materialism tended to have more money but also fought more because of it.

CONCLUSION: Materialism strains marriages, even when couples agree that money is important. Lead author and family-life professor Jason Carroll says in a press release that he saw "a pervasive pattern in the data of eroding communication, poor conflict resolution, and low responsiveness to each other."

IMPLICATION: Money can't buy a happy marriage.

SOURCE: The full study, "Materialism and Marriage: Couple Profiles of Congruent and Incongruent Spouses," is published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy.

Image: Shutterstock/Valerie Potapova.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic's Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In