Loved up

Kevin Lewis

July 11, 2017

Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?
Pilar Gonalons-Pons & Christine Schwartz
Demography, June 2017, Pages 985–1005


The growing economic resemblance of spouses has contributed to rising inequality by increasing the number of couples in which there are two high- or two low-earning partners. The dominant explanation for this trend is increased assortative mating. Previous research has primarily relied on cross-sectional data and thus has been unable to disentangle changes in assortative mating from changes in the division of spouses’ paid labor — a potentially key mechanism given the dramatic rise in wives’ labor supply. We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to decompose the increase in the correlation between spouses’ earnings and its contribution to inequality between 1970 and 2013 into parts due to (a) changes in assortative mating, and (b) changes in the division of paid labor. Contrary to what has often been assumed, the rise of economic homogamy and its contribution to inequality is largely attributable to changes in the division of paid labor rather than changes in sorting on earnings or earnings potential. Our findings indicate that the rise of economic homogamy cannot be explained by hypotheses centered on meeting and matching opportunities, and they show where in this process inequality is generated and where it is not.

Tying the Double-Knot: The Role of Assets in Marriage Commitment
Jeanne Lafortune & Corinne Low
American Economic Review, May 2017, Pages 163-167


What explains the growing gap in marriage rates between socioeconomic groups? We present a robust stylized fact not previously documented: marriage rates are higher for individuals with more assets. We argue this may be driven by marriage and cohabitation becoming increasingly similar in a number of ways except for the way assets become marital property to be divided upon divorce in marriage while they remain individual property in the case of cohabitation. We propose that ownership of assets may provide "insurance" to the partner making individually costly, but jointly optimal, investments in children, thus raising the value of marriage.

Till Porn Do Us Part? A Longitudinal Examination of Pornography Use and Divorce
Samuel Perry & Cyrus Schleifer
Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming


As pornography use becomes more commonplace in the United States, and increasingly so among younger cohorts, a growing literature is considering its potential connection to key social and cultural institutions. The current study examined the relationship between pornography use and one such institution: marriage. We drew on three-wave longitudinal data from 2006 to 2014 General Social Survey panel studies to determine whether married Americans’ pornography use predicted their likelihood of divorce over time and under what social conditions. We employed a doubly robust strategy that combines entropy balancing with logistic regression models. We found that the probability of divorce roughly doubled for married Americans who began pornography use between survey waves (N = 2,120; odds ratio = 2.19), and that this relationship held for both women and men. Conversely, discontinuing pornography use between survey waves was associated with a lower probability of divorce, but only for women. Additional analyses also showed that the association between beginning pornography use and the probability of divorce was particularly strong among younger Americans, those who were less religious, and those who reported greater initial marital happiness. We conclude by discussing data limitations, considering potential intervening mechanisms and the possibility of reverse causation, and outlining implications for future research.

Violence Against Women and Household Ownership of Radios, Computers, and Phones in 20 Countries
Lauren Cardoso & Susan Sorenson
American Journal of Public Health, July 2017, Pages 1175-1181

Methods: Women aged 15 to 49 years in 20 countries were surveyed via UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys between 2006 and 2014. Multivariate logistic regressions accounted for individual-, household-, and structural-level variables.

Results: Household ownership of any ICT (radio, computer, fixed phone, or mobile phone but not television) was associated with increased odds of women rejecting wife beating. The largest association was with computer ownership: women in homes with a computer were more likely to reject wife beating (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.81; 97.5% confidence interval [CI] = 1.69, 1.93). Number of ICTs was important: women in households with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 ICTs (vs 0) were more likely to reject wife-beating justifications (AOR = 1.10 [97.5% CI = 1.03, 1.17]; AOR = 1.10 [97.5% CI = 1.03, 1.18]; AOR = 1.19 [97.5% CI = 1.11, 1.29]; AOR = 1.71 [97.5% CI = 1.54, 1.88]; and AOR = 2.85 [97.5% CI = 2.48, 3.26]; respectively).

Conclusions: Independent of household wealth, country development, and other sociodemographic factors, the more ICTs in a household, the more likely that women will reject wife-beating justifications. Policymakers and program planners should consider potential implications of ICT access relating to intimate partner violence.

Coke vs. Pepsi: Brand Compatibility, Relationship Power, and Life Satisfaction
Danielle Brick et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming


Individuals often evaluate, purchase, and consume brands in the presence of others, including close others. Yet relatively little is known about the role brand preferences play in relationships. In the present research, the authors explore how the novel concept of brand compatibility, defined as the extent to which individuals have similar brand preferences (e.g., both partners prefer the same brand of soda, etc.), influences life satisfaction. The authors propose that when brand compatibility is high, life satisfaction will also be high. Conversely, because low brand compatibility may be a source of conflict for the relationship, the authors propose that it will be associated with reduced life satisfaction. Importantly, the authors predict that the effects of brand compatibility on conflict and life satisfaction will depend upon relationship power. Across multiple studies and methodologies, including experimental designs (studies 2, 3, 5) and dyadic data from real-life couples (studies 1, 4, 6), the authors test and find support for their hypotheses. By exploring how a potentially unique form of compatibility influences life satisfaction, including identifying a key moderator and an underlying mechanism, the current research contributes to the literatures on branding, close relationships, consumer well-being, and relationship power.

Automatic Associations Between One’s Partner and One’s Affect as the Proximal Mechanism of Change in Relationship Satisfaction: Evidence from Evaluative Conditioning
James McNulty et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming


The current study examined whether directly altering affective associations involving a relationship partner through evaluative conditioning can lead to changes in relationship satisfaction. Married couples (N = 144) were asked to view a brief stream of images once every 3 days for 6 weeks. Embedded in this stream were pictures of the partner, which, according to random assignment of couples to experimental group, were paired with either positive or neutral stimuli. Couples also completed measures of automatic partner attitudes and explicit marital satisfaction at baseline and once every 2 weeks for 8 weeks. Spouses who viewed their partners paired with positive stimuli demonstrated more-positive automatic partner attitudes than did control spouses, and these attitudes predicted increased self-reported marital satisfaction over time. These results provide novel evidence for a mechanism of change in relationship satisfaction, represent a step toward documenting how strong attitudes can evolve through passive exposure to information, and suggest novel avenues for relationship interventions.

Sexuality Leads to Boosts in Mood and Meaning in Life With No Evidence for the Reverse Direction: A Daily Diary Investigation
Todd Kashdan et al.
Emotion, forthcoming


Sex is rarely discussed in theories of well-being and rarely empirically examined using methods other than cross-sectional surveys. In the present study, a daily diary approach was used (for 21 days with 152 adults) to explore the relationship between the presence and quality of sexual episodes and well-being (positive affect, negative affect, meaning in life). Time-lagged analyses demonstrated that sexual activity on 1 day was related to greater well-being the next. As for the quality of episodes, higher reported sexual pleasure and intimacy predicted greater positive affect and lower negative affect the following day. When the reverse direction was tested, well-being did not predict next-day sexual activity, pleasure, or intimacy. These results suggest a unidirectional relationship in which the presence and quality of sexual activity lead to gains in well-being the following day. Contextual moderators (gender, relationship status, relationship closeness, and relationship length) allowed for tests of conditions altering the link between sexuality and well-being. Relationship closeness was the most robust moderator in predicting greater levels of meaning in life and positive affect following sexual episodes. These data provide evidence to support the continual consideration of sex in empirical work and theoretical models of elements that comprise healthy relationships and a good life.

Romantic Love vs. Reproduction Opportunities: Disentangling the Contributions of Different Anxiety Buffers under Conditions of Existential Threat
Annedore Hoppe, Immo Fritsche & Nicolas Koranyi
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming


Romantic relationships and offspring are discussed as anxiety buffers in terror management processes. We examined the relationship between these possible buffers and tested whether romantic relationships reduce existential threat due to reproduction opportunities or if they represent a distinct anxiety buffer. Contrary to our initial expectations, thinking about a positive romantic relationship without (vs. with) own children increased partner affect (Study 1) and commitment (Study 2) and decreased punishment intentions (Study 2) after mortality salience. These effects were mediated by participants’ desire for romantic love. Furthermore, thinking about positive non-parental (vs. parental) romantic relationships lowered death-thought accessibility (Study 3). Together, these findings suggest that romantic relationships form a distinct anxiety buffer which is only effective when the cultural (romance) instead of the biological (having children) nature of the relationship is highlighted. We discuss the role of anxiety buffer salience for determining whether offspring concerns buffer or increase existential threat.

Misery Loves Company: An Investigation of Couples' Interrole Conflict Congruence
Kelly Schwind Wilson et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming


Previous research on interrole (family-to-work and work-to-family) conflict has demonstrated that such conflict is detrimental for outcomes in the work and home domains for employees and their family members. Although research has begun to integrate multiple parties into the interrole conflict literature, studies overlook how employee interrole conflict and partner interrole conflict can jointly influence employee outcomes. We advance work-family research by integrating balance theory with the interrole conflict literature to investigate dyadic interrole conflict congruence and challenge the implicit assumption that less interrole conflict always results in superior outcomes. Using a polynomial regression analysis of 141 employee and romantic partner dyads, we demonstrate that congruence between couples' experiences of family-to-work (but not work-to-family) conflict is positively associated with balance satisfaction and ultimately employee job satisfaction and partner relationship satisfaction. Thus, when it comes to balance satisfaction and its downstream correlates, the harmful effects of high family-to-work conflict (FWC) are largely mitigated if an employee's partner shares a similarly high level of FWC, and the beneficial effects of low FWC are largely eliminated if an employee's partner does not share a similarly low level of FWC.

Unemployment and the Transition From Separation to Divorce
Dmitry Tumin & Zhenchao Qian
Journal of Family Issues, July 2017, Pages 1389-1413


Informal marital separation often quickly leads to divorce, but can become long-lasting, especially among disadvantaged populations. In this study, we focus on the timing of divorce after separating and examine how unemployment before or during separation affects this pivotal moment in the divorce process. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 Cohort (N = 2,219), we track unemployment before and during separation and show that men’s unemployment during separation, rather than women’s, reduces the likelihood of divorce, independent of preseparation unemployment and other characteristics. For men, unemployment during a marital separation prolongs the divorce process, creating an extended period of uncertainty in marital relationships on the brink of dissolution. We discuss the gendered relationship observed between employment status during an informal separation and an estranged couple’s decision to complete the divorce process.

Do “His” and “Her” Marriages Influence One Another? Contagion in Personal Assessments of Marital Quality among Older Spouses over a Four-Year Span
Jeffrey Stokes
Social Psychology Quarterly, June 2017, Pages 204-215


Husbands and wives differ in their evaluations of marital quality, with “his” marriage typically proving better than “her” marriage. However, spouses’ perceptions of marital quality tend to be significantly correlated with one another. Prior research has addressed the existence and implications of gender differences in marital quality but has focused less on spouses’ similarities in their perceptions. In particular, prior studies have not examined the extent to which spouses’ assessments of marital quality may be reciprocally related. In short, do his and her marriages influence one another? This study analyzes longitudinal dyadic data from 209 older married couples who participated in the first two waves of the Disability and Use of Time supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (2009–2013). Two-wave lagged models tested emotional and social contagion theory by examining whether husbands’ and wives’ reports of marital quality at baseline predicted both spouses’ marital quality after four years. Results indicated that (a) husbands reported better marital quality than their wives in both 2009 and 2013; (b) for both husbands and wives, baseline marital quality was significantly related with one’s own and one’s partner’s marital quality four years later; and (c) there were no differences in effects according to gender. These findings offer support for the framework of his and her marriage as well as emotional and social contagion theory.

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