December 5, 2015 – Filial Obligation and Marital Satisfaction in Middle-aged Couples
Purpose of the Study: Although prior research suggests that high filial obligation has an adverse impact on psychological well-being, little is known about the implications of these beliefs for marital quality during midlife. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine dyadic associations between middle-aged husbands’ and wives’ filial obligation beliefs and their marital satisfaction.
Design and Methods: Using a sample of 132 middle-aged husbands (M = 51.45 years) and wives (M = 49.75 years) drawn from Wave 1 of the Family Exchanges Study, we tested actor–partner interdependence models to determine associations between husbands’ and wives’ filial obligation beliefs and marital satisfaction in both spouses. We also examined associations between spousal dissimilarity in filial obligation and marital satisfaction.
Results: Wives’ greater filial obligation was associated with their own lower marital satisfaction. Conversely, husbands’ greater filial obligation was associated with their own higher marital satisfaction. Greater spousal dissimilarity in filial obligation was associated with lower levels of marital satisfaction for husbands but not for wives.
Implications: Given that support provided to aging parents most often occurs within the context of marriage, findings highlight the importance of examining dyadic associations between filial obligation beliefs and marital quality among middle-aged couples.