Marital satisfaction and locus of control in dual-earner couples: An analysis of current trends

Date of Completion

January 1999


Psychology, Social|Psychology, Personality|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies




Marital distress is the primary reason adults seek psychotherapy. Despite attempts to resolve marital problems, successful resolution is difficult for most couples. Compounding the marital strains are often issues related to occupation, particularly for dual-earner couples. The number of dual-earner couples has continued to increase, as couples have experienced greater financial obligations and personal goals for achievement. ^ Dual-earner couples often struggle with the management of the multiple demands placed on them. The responsibilities of maintaining a home and raising children have continued. However, traditional roles have often been replaced because dual-earner couples either choose careers and do not want to follow traditional roles or because financial demands require that both spouses work. Concurrently, statistics show divorce rates remain around 50% in the United States. Hence, marital satisfaction of the dual-earner couple is a concern. ^ The purpose of this research was to identify whether or not locus of control compatibility was related to marital satisfaction in dual-earner couples and whether or not the relationship between locus of control and marital satisfaction varied by gender. The background variables which historically have been thought to contribute to marital satisfaction were examined in this study to determine the relationships between those background variables and locus of control and/or marital satisfaction. The background variables identified in this study were: employment status, number of years married, number of children, marital status of parents, first marriage/remarriage, and previous participation in marital therapy. Finally, the extent and manner to which marital satisfaction can be predicted by locus of control was examined. ^ Although the variance between the genders was statistically significant, the results conclude that locus of control compatibility was not a predictor of marital satisfaction for the dual-earners couples studied. ^