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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994 Oct;67(4):688-98.

Gender differences in the link between marital support and satisfaction in older couples.

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Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-1248.


Recent work on social support in marriage indicates that the link between marital satisfaction and social support is stronger for wives than husbands (D. Julien & H. J. Markman, 1991). Hypotheses based on these findings and on studies of interpersonal perception were tested on a sample of 69 older married couples (mean age = 74 years). The separate effects of giving, receiving, and reciprocity on spouses' marital satisfaction and well-being were examined. Analyzing the data separately for husbands and wives reveals that perceptions of social support in marriage are more strongly related to the marital satisfaction and general well-being of wives than husbands. Methodological and theoretical interpretations are offered that shed light on the differences between men and women in the meaning of social support in marriage.

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