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Disentangling Value Similarities and Transmissions in Established Marriages: A Cross-Lagged Longitudinal Study


Department of Family and Child Care Studies, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands (


This study examined spousal value similarity and transmission across a 5-year period on four value orientations: traditional family values, self-determination, social criticism, and hedonism. Participants were 685 Dutch couples in established marriages. Structural equation modeling results indicated that spouses were moderately similar on all value orientations. Over time, spousal similarity remained for traditional family values, self-determination, and social criticism and decreased for hedonism. Direct spousal transmission occurred on social criticism and hedonism with wives influencing their husbands. Multiple group analyses revealed that wives’ value transmission to husbands occurred only within couples with similar social positions (in education and religion) and with higher degrees of marital satisfaction. Findings confirm that experiences in one’s family of destination contribute to midlife value development.