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Historical differences in relationship functioning: Findings from three national population-based samples in Europe


Hülür, Gizem; Castano, Chiara (2019). Historical differences in relationship functioning: Findings from three national population-based samples in Europe. Psychology and Aging, 34(8):1185-1197.

Abstract

Individual development and relationships are embedded in a sociohistorical context. In the present study, we examined how relationship functioning of heterosexual couples differs across historical time in 3 population-based samples. We used data from the Swiss Social Stratification, Cohesion and Conflict in Contemporary Families Study (COUPLES: waves 1998 vs. 2011), the Swiss Household Panel (SHP: waves 2000 vs. 2016), and the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS: 1996-1997 vs. 2008-2009), each including a different measure of relationship functioning (COUPLES: conflict, SHP: practical and emotional support, and, BHPS: relationship satisfaction). We also examined the role of age and other correlates. Using propensity score matching methods, we selected couples in both waves matched by age, relationship duration, and region within each study (COUPLES: 174 couples per wave, mean age = 30 in men and 27 in women; SHP: 1,071 couples per wave, mean age = 47 in men and 44 in women; and, BHPS: 316 couples per wave, mean age = 36 in men and 33 in women). Our results revealed that while women and men in the later wave reported more frequent conflict, women in the later wave reported more emotional and practical support from their partner, resulting in a smaller gender gap over historical time, and men in the later wave reported higher relationship satisfaction. Taken together, this pattern of historical differences is largely consistent with what would be expected based on increased egalitarianism. We discuss the role of societal change in shaping romantic relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Abstract

Individual development and relationships are embedded in a sociohistorical context. In the present study, we examined how relationship functioning of heterosexual couples differs across historical time in 3 population-based samples. We used data from the Swiss Social Stratification, Cohesion and Conflict in Contemporary Families Study (COUPLES: waves 1998 vs. 2011), the Swiss Household Panel (SHP: waves 2000 vs. 2016), and the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS: 1996-1997 vs. 2008-2009), each including a different measure of relationship functioning (COUPLES: conflict, SHP: practical and emotional support, and, BHPS: relationship satisfaction). We also examined the role of age and other correlates. Using propensity score matching methods, we selected couples in both waves matched by age, relationship duration, and region within each study (COUPLES: 174 couples per wave, mean age = 30 in men and 27 in women; SHP: 1,071 couples per wave, mean age = 47 in men and 44 in women; and, BHPS: 316 couples per wave, mean age = 36 in men and 33 in women). Our results revealed that while women and men in the later wave reported more frequent conflict, women in the later wave reported more emotional and practical support from their partner, resulting in a smaller gender gap over historical time, and men in the later wave reported higher relationship satisfaction. Taken together, this pattern of historical differences is largely consistent with what would be expected based on increased egalitarianism. We discuss the role of societal change in shaping romantic relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Life Sciences > Aging
Health Sciences > Geriatrics and Gerontology
Language:English
Date:December 2019
Deposited On:20 Jan 2020 14:51
Last Modified:05 Jan 2021 16:40
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0882-7974
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000411
PubMed ID:31804121

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