Financial Problems as Predictors of Divorce: A Social Exchange Perspective

Jan D. Andersen


By using a conceptual framework derived from social exchange theory, this study examined the relationship between financial problems and divorce. Nationally representative data from the " Marital Instability Over the Life Course" panel study was used to determine if financial problems reported at one interview could predict those who would divorce by the subsequent interview. A self-replicating design allowed data analyses for three separate time periods: 1980-1983 , 1983- 1988, and 1988-1992.

The sample used in this study consisted of l,620 married men and women under the age of 55. Additionally, the participants were in their first marriages.

Divorce was the only dependent variable. The independent variables inc luded eight financial problems: (a) husband's job interferes with family life, (b) husband 's job satisfaction, (c) wife's job satisfaction, (d) wife's work preference, (e) sat isfaction with spouse as breadwinner, (f) satisfaction with financial situation, (g) spending money