Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Lucy M. Delgadillo


Lucy M. Delgadillo


Jeffrey P. Dew


Jean M. Lown


The purpose of this study was to assess the direction and magnitude of the relationship between levels of marital satisfaction and two main housing variables--the housing burden ratio and the amount of home equity. The influence that these variables have on levels of marital satisfaction was mediated and moderated by how satisfied couples were with their homes and their finances, as well as their perceived experience of economic pressure. The results ultimately provide insights that can improve both couple well-being and financial/housing situations by pinpointing factors that account for the variance in marital satisfaction.

This study used existing data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). Although NSFH was collected in three longitudinal waves, this study used the second wave from 1992 as it contained the most complete information pertaining to research hypotheses. Approximately 5,000 participants were included. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression analyses were used. One moderator and three mediating models were tested.

Most of the sample (82%) owned homes. Approximately one third of those homeowners had entirely paid off their mortgage balances. Participants were mostly White, and were 46 years old on average. Only married participants were included in this study. Median annual income per household was $47,400 and the average housing cost burden was .139.

Results indicated that the relationship between housing burden and marital satisfaction was partially mediated by economic pressure. A full mediation model existed between percent equity, economic pressure, and marital satisfaction, but no other equity variables. Results came close (p = .053) to indicating a full moderation model between housing burden, housing satisfaction, and marital satisfaction. Another partial mediation model was found between percent equity, financial satisfaction, and marital satisfaction. And finally, homeownership status negatively predicted marital satisfaction.




This work made publicly available electronically on June 10, 2011.