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Changes in Wives' Income: Effects on Marital Happiness, Psychological Well-Being, and the Risk of Divorce

Stacy J. Rogers and Danelle D. DeBoer
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 63, No. 2 (May, 2001), pp. 458-472
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3654605
Page Count: 15
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Changes in Wives' Income: Effects on Marital Happiness, Psychological Well-Being, and the Risk of Divorce
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Abstract

We investigate the effects of increases in married women's actual income and in their proportion of total family income on marital happiness, psychological well-being, and the likelihood of divorce. We use data from a sample of 1,047 married individuals (not couples) in medium-duration marriages, drawn from a five-wave panel survey begun in 1980 and continuing to 1997. Structural equation modeling is used to assess the impact of increases in married women's absolute and relative income from 1980 to 1988 on the marital happiness and well-being of married men and women in 1988. Event history analysis is used to determine how these changes affect the risk of divorce between 1988 and 1997. We find that increases in married women's absolute and relative income significantly increase their marital happiness and well-being. Increases in married women's absolute income generally have nonsignificant effects for married men. However, married men's well-being is significantly lower when married women's proportional contributions to the total family income are increased. The likelihood of divorce is not significantly affected by increases in married women's income. Nevertheless, increases in married women's income may indirectly lower the risk of divorce by increasing women's marital happiness.

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