Family ties and marital happiness: The different marital experiences of black and white newlywed couples

Susan Goff Timmer, Joseph Veroff, Shirley Hatchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship of family ties to black and white couples' marital happiness over the first 3 years of their marriages. Respondents were 115 black and 136 white couples interviewed as part of the Early Years of Marriage study. Although there were many similarities in the way blacks and whites felt about and interacted with their families, black couples were less likely to argue over matters pertaining to family, visited their families more often but perceived fewer family members able to help if needed. Hierarchical panel regressions showed that close family ties had no effect on the marital happiness of whites but significantly predicted black couples' marital happiness, particularly the ties to the husband's family. Predictions of marital happiness further varied by low and high structural stress (low income combined with early family formation), such that low-stress blacks' increased closeness to their in-laws from year 1 to year 3 predicted marital happiness. For high-stress blacks, the couple's closeness to the husband's family in year 1 and increases in that closeness by year 3 predicted increased marital happiness. Findings point to the importance of accounting for both ethnicity and structural context for understanding the paths couples take in establishing happy marriages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-359
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Happiness
happiness
experience
Marriage
marriage
husband
Spouses
family formation
hydroquinone
family member
low income
ethnicity
regression
Law

Keywords

  • Extended family ties
  • Marital adjustment
  • Race differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Family ties and marital happiness : The different marital experiences of black and white newlywed couples. / Timmer, Susan Goff; Veroff, Joseph; Hatchett, Shirley.

In: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. 13, No. 3, 08.1996, p. 335-359.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Timmer, Susan Goff ; Veroff, Joseph ; Hatchett, Shirley. / Family ties and marital happiness : The different marital experiences of black and white newlywed couples. In: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 1996 ; Vol. 13, No. 3. pp. 335-359.
@article{096f20ba1af04be4aa77dfc2b243729e,
title = "Family ties and marital happiness: The different marital experiences of black and white newlywed couples",
abstract = "This paper explores the relationship of family ties to black and white couples' marital happiness over the first 3 years of their marriages. Respondents were 115 black and 136 white couples interviewed as part of the Early Years of Marriage study. Although there were many similarities in the way blacks and whites felt about and interacted with their families, black couples were less likely to argue over matters pertaining to family, visited their families more often but perceived fewer family members able to help if needed. Hierarchical panel regressions showed that close family ties had no effect on the marital happiness of whites but significantly predicted black couples' marital happiness, particularly the ties to the husband's family. Predictions of marital happiness further varied by low and high structural stress (low income combined with early family formation), such that low-stress blacks' increased closeness to their in-laws from year 1 to year 3 predicted marital happiness. For high-stress blacks, the couple's closeness to the husband's family in year 1 and increases in that closeness by year 3 predicted increased marital happiness. Findings point to the importance of accounting for both ethnicity and structural context for understanding the paths couples take in establishing happy marriages.",
keywords = "Extended family ties, Marital adjustment, Race differences",
author = "Timmer, {Susan Goff} and Joseph Veroff and Shirley Hatchett",
year = "1996",
month = "8",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "13",
pages = "335--359",
journal = "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships",
issn = "0265-4075",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Family ties and marital happiness

T2 - The different marital experiences of black and white newlywed couples

AU - Timmer, Susan Goff

AU - Veroff, Joseph

AU - Hatchett, Shirley

PY - 1996/8

Y1 - 1996/8

N2 - This paper explores the relationship of family ties to black and white couples' marital happiness over the first 3 years of their marriages. Respondents were 115 black and 136 white couples interviewed as part of the Early Years of Marriage study. Although there were many similarities in the way blacks and whites felt about and interacted with their families, black couples were less likely to argue over matters pertaining to family, visited their families more often but perceived fewer family members able to help if needed. Hierarchical panel regressions showed that close family ties had no effect on the marital happiness of whites but significantly predicted black couples' marital happiness, particularly the ties to the husband's family. Predictions of marital happiness further varied by low and high structural stress (low income combined with early family formation), such that low-stress blacks' increased closeness to their in-laws from year 1 to year 3 predicted marital happiness. For high-stress blacks, the couple's closeness to the husband's family in year 1 and increases in that closeness by year 3 predicted increased marital happiness. Findings point to the importance of accounting for both ethnicity and structural context for understanding the paths couples take in establishing happy marriages.

AB - This paper explores the relationship of family ties to black and white couples' marital happiness over the first 3 years of their marriages. Respondents were 115 black and 136 white couples interviewed as part of the Early Years of Marriage study. Although there were many similarities in the way blacks and whites felt about and interacted with their families, black couples were less likely to argue over matters pertaining to family, visited their families more often but perceived fewer family members able to help if needed. Hierarchical panel regressions showed that close family ties had no effect on the marital happiness of whites but significantly predicted black couples' marital happiness, particularly the ties to the husband's family. Predictions of marital happiness further varied by low and high structural stress (low income combined with early family formation), such that low-stress blacks' increased closeness to their in-laws from year 1 to year 3 predicted marital happiness. For high-stress blacks, the couple's closeness to the husband's family in year 1 and increases in that closeness by year 3 predicted increased marital happiness. Findings point to the importance of accounting for both ethnicity and structural context for understanding the paths couples take in establishing happy marriages.

KW - Extended family ties

KW - Marital adjustment

KW - Race differences

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0040798266&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0040798266&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0040798266

VL - 13

SP - 335

EP - 359

JO - Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

JF - Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

SN - 0265-4075

IS - 3

ER -