From Support to Control: A Configurational Perspective on Conjugal Quality

Authors


  • *

    Laboratory of Life Course Studies, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

  • **

    FORS, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Department of Sociology and Laboratory of Life Course Studies, University of Geneva, 102 Bd Carl Vogt, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland (eric.widmer@unige.ch).

Abstract

The topic of conjugal quality provides an empirical illustration of the relevance of the configurational perspective on families. On the basis of a longitudinal sample of 1,534 couples living in Switzerland drawn from the study “Social Stratification, Cohesion and Conflict in Contemporary Families,” we show that various types of interdependencies with relatives and friends promote distinct conflict management strategies for couples as well as unequal levels of conjugal quality. We find that configurations characterized by supportive and noninterfering relationships with relatives and friends for both partners are associated with higher conjugal quality, whereas configurations characterized by interference are associated with lower conjugal quality.

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