Gudmunson, C., Beutler, I., Israelsen, C., McCoy, K. & Hill, J. (2007) Linking financial strain to marital instability: examining the roles of emotional distress and marital interaction.Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28(3), 357-376.
Brief Description: This study investigates whether individual moods or couple interactions are stronger links between financial strain and thoughts of ending a marriage. It finds that both are important. Feelings of depression and hostility are experienced individually as a result of financial strain. In stressful times, having disagreements leads to more fighting and less quality time together as a couple, often leading to thoughts of divorce.
Implications: Married couples can proactively find ways to handle disagreements before they sour the relationship. The fact that couple interactions play as big a role as individuals’ feelings of depression and hostility in thoughts of divorce means that even one member of the relationship can do a lot to improve the relationship by avoiding tendencies to quarrel or withdraw when there are disagreements. Intentionally spending quality time together can have a refreshing effect that may compensate for moodiness that tends to accompany stressful financial times.