marital power, marital quality, attachment security, marriage


Spouses perceiving that they have shared power in marriage has been linked to higher marital quality and attachment security. Existing research, however, is limited in assessing how these perceptions influence both spouses and whether these influences endure over time. To address these limitations, we analyzed the longitudinal relationship reports from 319 couples from the Flourishing Families Project (FFP) to estimate biyearly (Waves 1, 3, and 5) and yearly (Waves 3–5) longitudinal actor-partner interdependence models. Reporting shared power in marriage was linked to the actors’ higher marital quality and lower attachment insecurity over time (although less consistently for attachment insecurity). Longitudinal partner effects and indirect effects were also found from reports of shared marital power on both marital quality and attachment insecurity over time. The combined evidence suggests that power dynamics in a marriage are an important predictor of changes in couples’ overall relational well-being. Accordingly, marriages appear to benefit from husbands and wives mutually seeking to help each other feel empowered in a relationship as equal and full partners.

Original Publication Citation

Leonhardt, N.D.*, Willoughby, B. J., Dyer, W. J., & Carroll, J. S. (2019). Longitudinal Influence of Shared Marital Power on Marital Quality and Attachment Security. Journal of Family Psychology, 34, 1-11.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Family Psychology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor