Marital Satisfaction Across Three Cultures: Does the Number of Children Have an Impact After Accounting for Other Marital Demographics?

Wendorf C. A. , Lucas T., İMAMOĞLU E. O. , Weisfeld C. C. , Weisfeld G. E.

JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol.42, no.3, pp.340-354, 2011 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0022022110362637
  • Page Numbers: pp.340-354
  • Keywords: marriage, marital satisfaction, children, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, TRANSITION, RELATEDNESS, FAMILIES, QUALITY, SELF, PERSPECTIVES, PARENTHOOD, ADJUSTMENT, INVARIANCE, HAPPINESS


U.S. studies indicate that children tend to stabilize marriage but, paradoxically, to reduce marital satisfaction. To explore whether this finding exists in a similar fashion in other cultures, the authors studied the impact of number of children on spousal love in the United States, United Kingdom, and Turkey, while accounting for other marital demographics (such as duration of marriage and the ages of wives and husbands). The number of children predicted diminished marital satisfaction in couples from all three cultures, although this effect arguably was not present in Turkish wives. In addition, marital satisfaction in couples from all three cultures was generally negatively predicted by the duration of marriage. Marital satisfaction was generally unrelated to wife's age. The effect of husband's age was important to marital satisfaction in couples from all cultures, although the nature of this effect diverged in relating positively to marital satisfaction for British and American couples but negatively for Turkish couples and especially Turkish wives. The authors identify several potentially important implications of these results.