Financial Stress and Marital Quality: The Moderating Influence of Couple Communication


family finance, financial stress, marital quality, couple communication, financial stress, marital quality


This study explores the negative relationship between financial stress and marital quality and examines couple communication as a moderator in this relationship. Using a sample of 373 married U.S. couples from the Flourishing Families Project, an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) was run to determine the influence of husbands’ and wives’ financial stress on both their own and their partner’s reports of marital quality. Results found negative associations between both actor and partner reports of financial stress and marital quality. Couple communication did not moderate the associations between husbands’ and wives’ financial stress and wives’ marital quality. However, it did moderate the negative associations between both husbands’ and wives’ financial stress and husbands’ marital quality. Specifically, the deleterious relationship of financial stress to marital quality for husbands was significantly less severe when coupled with positive couple communication. Implications for financial therapists and avenues for future research are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Kelley, H. H., LeBaron, A. B., & Hill, E. J. (2018). Financial stress and marital quality: The moderating influence of couple communication. Journal of Financial Therapy, 9(2), 18-36.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Financial Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor