Sacrifice as a Predictor of Marital Outcomes


  • Support for this work was provided by the National Institute of Health, Division of Services and Intervention Research, Adult and Geriatric Treatment and Prevention Branch, Grant No. 5-RO1-MH35525-12, “The Long-term Effects of Premarital Intervention.”

concerning this article should be addressed to Scott M. Stanley, Center for Marital and Family Studies, Department of Psychology, University of Denver, University Park, CO 80208. E-mail:


We investigated the prospective associations between attitudes about sacrifice and marital outcomes in 38 married couples. Specifically, a measure of satisfaction with sacrifice was proposed to be a potent longitudinal predictor of marital adjustment and distress based on existing cross-sectional studies and also to mediate the association between commitment and marital adjustment. Results demonstrated that attitudes about sacrifice discriminated between couples who would become distressed versus nondistressed over time. Sacrifice attitudes also predicted the maintenance of relationship adjustment over time even better than earlier relationship adjustment. Finally, sacrifice attitudes mediated the link between commitment and relationship adjustment for husbands, but not wives. Implications for intervention are discussed.