Reciprocal Effects of Marital Idealization and Marital Satisfaction Between Long-Wed Spouses Over Time

Ariel Pollock Star, Ella Cohn-Schwartz, Norm O’Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Marital idealization is defined as an interpersonal mode of self-deception whereby husbands and wives convey an exceedingly positive portrayal of their spouse and relationship (e.g., “My spouse has never made me angry”). For the Marriage and Health Study, we obtained responses from 119 long-wed couples at baseline, 1- and 2-years later (M = 34 years married). We first computed and compared contemporaneous actor-partner interdependence models (APIMs) suggesting that marital satisfaction predicts marital idealization within and between spouses; the reverse APIM was not supported (i.e., marital idealization did not predict marital satisfaction). Yet our analyses suggest the question should be answered with longitudinal data. When reported contemporaneously, husbands’ marital satisfaction predicts marital idealization by their wives. The same cross-over effect is observed for wives—but not concomitantly, only in future. That is, marital satisfaction and idealization reported by wives predicts marital idealization reported by their husbands 2-years later.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-454
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Volume95
Issue number4
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 28 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • actor-partner interdependence modeling
  • long-wed couples
  • Marital Aggrandizement Scale
  • marital idealization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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