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Abstract

This study examines 2 overlapping longitudinal samples of U.S. couples with children, covering a period of 15 years after the first child's birth. The first sample extended from the pregnancy with a first child until that child was 5.5 years old and the second from ages 4.5 to 14.5. Growth curve analyses revealed that marital satisfaction declined over 15 years for both husbands and wives. Attachment security measured in the second sample was associated with greater marital satisfaction but did not buffer against declines in marital satisfaction over time. Husbands' lower initial level of marital satisfaction measured around the first child's transition to school was the only significant predictor of marital dissolution. The discussion emphasizes theoretical and practical implications of these findings.