Partner support and marital satisfaction: Support amount, adequacy, provision, and solicitation


  • Erika Lawrence, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa; Mali Bunde, CIGNA Health Solutions; Robin A. Barry, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa; Rebecca L. Brock, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa; Kieran T. Sullivan, Department of Psychology, Santa Clara University; Lauri A. Pasch, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; Grace A. White, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa; Christina E. Dowd, Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation, and Student Development, University of Iowa; Erin E. Adams, Counseling Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • The collection and analyses of these data were supported, in part, by the following grants to the first author: National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH11745, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grants CCR721682 and CE721682, National Institute for Child and Human Development Grant HD046789, and a research grant from the University of Iowa. The authors wish to thank Ashley Anderson, Katie Barnett, Sara Boeding, Jill Buchheit, Katherine Conlon Fasselius, Jodi Dey, Emily Georgia, Dailah Hall, Emma Heetland, David Hoak, Jeung Eun Yoon, Matt Kishinami, Jordan Koster, Deb Moore-Henecke, Ashley Pederson, Luke Peterson, Polly Peterson, Ashley Rink, Eunyoe Ro, Heidi Schwab, Jodi Siebrecht, Abby Waltz, Shaun Wilkinson, and Nai-Jin Yang for their assistance with data collection.

Erika Lawrence, University of Iowa, Department of Psychology, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52242-1407, e-mail:


To compare the extent to which (a) amount versus adequacy of received support and (b) support provision versus solicitation behaviors predict marital satisfaction, married couples from the United States (N= 275) provided perceptions of received support and participated in 2 support transactions. Actor–partner interdependence modeling and structural equation modeling techniques were employed. Husbands’ perceptions of support adequacy predicted marital satisfaction more than their perceptions of support amount, whereas the results were generally the opposite for wives. Husbands’ provision and wives’ solicitation behaviors predicted marital satisfaction. Results suggest the need to move beyond simple counts of support received to examining support adequacy—and the various behaviors and roles involved in supportive transactions—to enhance theories of support and relationship functioning.