Marital equity among dual-career couples: a longitudinal perspective

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Virginia Tech


Longitudinal data from 113 dual-career couples are used to explore the relationship between perceptions of marital equity and well-being and distress in marital, professional, and parental roles, how perceptions of equity change over time, and to examine efforts to restore equity. Differences in well-being and distress in roles are identified by gender and equity group. study results indicate that for both spouses, perceptions of inequity are associated with lower marital well-being and higher marital distress; however, under benefited wives reported higher professional well-being and under benefited husbands reported higher parental well-being. Couple perceptions of equity decreased between 1986 and 1990; under benefited husbands were more likely to use threats and bargaining to negotiate for relationship changes while wives sought counseling. Results demonstrate the importance of using multiple measures of well-being and distress and including gender and equity type in investigations of marital equity.