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Research Findings
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RESEARCH FINDINGS

2/01/12

Materialistic couples have more money—and more problems

New research confirms that money can’t buy love—and specifically, that it can’t buy a happy and stable marriage.

Researchers studied 1,734 married couples across the country. Each couple completed a relationship evaluation, part of which asked how much they value “having money and lots of things.”

The researchers’ analysis showed that couples who say money is not important to them score 10 to 15 percent better on marriage stability and other measures of relationship quality than couples where one or both are materialistic.

“Couples where both spouses are materialistic were worse off on nearly every measure we looked at,” said Jason Carroll, a Brigham Young University professor of family life and lead author of the study. “There is a pervasive pattern in the data of eroding communication, poor conflict resolution, and low responsiveness to each other.”

In one in five couples in the study, both partners admitted a strong love of money. Though these couples were better off financially, money was often a bigger source of conflict for them.
“How these couples perceive their finances seems to be more important to their marital health than their actual financial situation,” Carroll said.

And despite their shared materialism, materialistic couples’ relationships were in poorer shape than couples who were mismatched materialistically, with just one materialist in the marriage.

Source. The findings were also published Oct. 13 in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, Vol. 10, Issue 4, 2011, “Materialism and Marriage: Couple Profiles of Congruent and Incongruent Spouses.” Click here for the abstract.


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