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Marital Alternatives and Marital Disruption
J. Richard Udry
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 43, No. 4 (Nov., 1981), pp. 889-897
Published by: National Council on Family Relations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351345
Page Count: 9
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Using longitudinal data from a panel of married, white, urban couples from 16 United States urban areas, this paper explores the usefulness of "marital alternatives" as a dimension in explaining marital stability. A scale is employed to measure the respondents' perception of how much better or worse off they would be without their present spouse, and how easily that spouse could be replaced with one of comparable quality. Even when taken independently, the dimension of marital alternatives appears to be a better predictor of marital disruption than is marital satisfaction. Marital alternatives correlate positively with resources of the self and negatively with spouse's resources. The marital alternatives concept appears to be useful in understanding the social psychology of marital stability.
Journal of Marriage and Family © 1981 National Council on Family Relations