A longitudinal examination of the relationship between selected gender role variables and marital quality



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Texas Tech University


The purpose of the study was to examine longitudinally the relationship between two gender-role orientation variables (gender-role attitude and gender-role identity) and marital quality. This research was a replication of recent research which has found that the more egalitarian the husband is with respect to the wife, the higher the marital quality of each spouse and other research which has found that femininity is positively associated with the level of marital quality of each spouse. In addition to same-time analyses, these relationships were examined longitudinally. The theoretical model used was Social Exchange Theory. The focus of this theory on the roles which marital partners develop as they join in a relationship with one another made it especially applicable to this study.

Findings of the study were based on a sample of 35 couples who had been married an average of a little over a year and a half, most of whom did not have children. Length of marriage and presence or absence of children were identified as covariates in the preliminary analyses.

Partial correlations were used to test the hypotheses. At time one, the relationship between femininity of the wife and level of marital quality of the husband was positive and significant, confirming the first hypothesis. AH other hypotheses were not confirmed.

Additional analyses were undertaken to identify a discriminant procedure which could classify spouses as to whether they were more satisfied or less satisfied as to their marital quality. Eight variables (masculinity, femininity, spouse masculinity. Spouse femininity, total income, length of marriage, and the score on the Marital Roles Attitude Scale) and presence of children were able to correctly classify couples about 7096 of the time. Implications of this procedure are discussed.