Gender Differences in Marital Satisfaction: A Meta-analysis

Authors

  • Jeffrey B. Jackson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Alliant International University
    • Couple & Family Therapy Program, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, 2855 Michelle Dr., Suite 300, Irvine, CA 92606 (jjackson@alliant.edu).

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  • Richard B. Miller,

    1. Brigham Young University
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    • Marriage and Family Therapy Program, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2075 Joseph F. Smith Building, Provo, UT 84602.

  • Megan Oka,

    1. Utah State University
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    • Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Department of Family Consumer and Human Development, Utah State University, Family Life Center 207, 2700 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84321.

  • Ryan G. Henry

    1. University of South Florida
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    • Department of Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, University of South Florida, 13301 Bruce B Downs Blvd., MHC 1632, Tampa, FL 33612.


Abstract

The purpose of the present meta-analysis was to empirically test the widely held assumption that women experience lower marital satisfaction than men. A total of 226 independent samples with a combined sum of 101,110 participants were included in the meta-analysis. Overall results indicated statistically significant yet very small gender differences in marital satisfaction between wives and husbands, with wives slightly less satisfied than husbands; moderator analyses, however, indicated that this difference was due to the inclusion of clinical samples, with wives in marital therapy 51% less likely to be satisfied with their marital relationship than their husbands. The effect size for nonclinical community-based samples indicated no significant gender differences among couples in the general population. Additional moderator analyses indicated that there were also no gender differences when the levels of marital satisfaction of husbands and wives in the same relationship (i.e., dyadic data) were compared.

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