Materialism, Perceived Financial Problems, and Marital Satisfaction


divorce, financial distress, financial problems, image, income, marital dissolution, marital quality, marital satisfaction, materialism, money, self-esteem


Although scholars and counselors have long acknowledged a link between financial problems and marital outcomes, little research has examined how materialistic attitudes may affect these associations. This article examines a conceptual model linking spousal materialism, perceived financial problems, and marital satisfaction. Group comparison and structural equation modeling analyses were run with a nationally representative sample of 600 married couples. Analyses confirmed that higher levels of spousal materialism are associated with increased perceptions of financial problems, which in turn are negatively associated with levels of marital satisfaction. Analyses also found that materialistic attitudes have a stronger impact on spouses' perceptions of financial problems than do levels of couple income. These findings support the notion that materialism contributes to how couples define and react to financial problems in their relationship and that these factors indirectly and directly affect general levels of marital satisfaction. Implications for research and intervention are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Dean, L. R.*, Carroll, J. S., & Yang, C. (2007). Materialism, Perceived Financial Problems, and Marital Satisfaction. Family Consumer Science Research Journal, 35 (3), 260-281.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor