Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Jeff Dew

Abstract

The primary objective of this research study was to examine employment and housing problems (stemming from the 2007-2009 Recession) and to see if there was a correlation between those problems and marital satisfaction and/or the perceived likelihood of future separation or divorce. A second purpose for this study was to see if feelings of financial stress (economic pressure) were mainly responsible for the projected drops in marital satisfaction or increases with divorce proneness. A final purpose for this study was to understand how other factors might additionally influence the relationships between recession-related employment problems and housing problems and the marital outcome variables. These factors included gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and existing debt load.

This study found that housing-related financial problems were associated with both lower marital satisfaction and a higher perceived likelihood of future separation or divorce. The economic pressure variable provided additional understanding regarding why couples with housing-related financial problems were more likely to have less desirable marital outcomes. Likewise, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and existing debt load also provided some modification of the existing relationships between housing-related financial problems and marital satisfaction and divorce proneness. However, this study did not find an association between employment-related financial problems and marital satisfaction or the perceived likelihood of future separation or divorce.

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