Arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce, research finds.
While arguing about money, couples use the harshest language and the arguments are also more intense and last longer.
Money arguments also take longer than any other to recover from.
Naturally, then, the more arguments about money couples have, the lower their satisfaction with the relationship.
Dr Sonya Britt-Lutter, study co-author, said:
“Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce.
It’s not children, in-laws or anything else.
It’s money — for both men and women.”
The conclusions come from a nationally representative survey of over 4,500 couples.
Dr Britt-Lutter explained the results:
“In the study, we controlled for income, debt and net worth.
Results revealed it didn’t matter how much you made or how much you were worth.
Arguments about money are the top predictor for divorce because it happens at all levels.”
The researchers found that arguments from the very start of the relationship about money were a particularly bad sign.
Dr Britt-Lutter said:
“You can measure people’s money arguments when they are very first married.
It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, but when they were first together and already arguing about money, there is a good chance they are going to have poor relationship satisfaction.”
People who are stressed about money tend to avoid the issue, which makes matters worse.
Dr Britt-Lutter said:
“…people who are stressed are very short-term focused.
They don’t plan for the future.
If you can reduce stress, you can increase planning.”
If the money is not being treated fairly in the household, then the relationship satisfaction is going to be lower.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Family Relations (Dew et al., 2012).