Date of Award:

1998

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Thomas R. Lee

Abstract

The financial management habits and perceptions of young married couples were examined, as well as their financial problems and perceptions of their problems' magnitude in an attempt to assess the relationship of these financial factors to marital satisfaction. A survey was delivered to 604 residents of family student housing at Utah State University. The spouse who predominantly handled family finances was asked to complete the survey. By using an incentive for completing the survey, a response of 51.32% was obtained. It was hypothesized that both financial management practices and problems would be related to a couple's reported satisfaction with their marriage. It was further hypothesized that there would be a difference in how husbands and wives would report the relationship between financial management, financial problems, and marital satisfaction.

As hypothesized, financial management behaviors as well as perceptions of how well finances were managed were found to be significantly correlated with the respondents' marital satisfaction. Likewise, financial problems and perceived magnitude of financial problems were found to be significantly related to marital satisfaction. According to a regression analysis, perceptions may be more predictive of marital satisfaction than actual financial management practices. Contrary to the hypothesis, there were no consistent, clear differences between husbands and wives in the effect of financial variables on marital satisfaction for this sample.

In general, these findings support the widely accepted, but rarely studied, assumption that finances can affect a marital or committed couple relationship. These effects involve actual behaviors as well a s perceptions of behaviors.

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