Economic Pressure and Marital Conflict in Retirement-Aged Couples


retirement, marriage, family stress model, assets, debts


Tests of the relationship between economic difficulties and marital distress have generally excluded retirement-aged couples. Given the aging U.S. population and the upcoming retirement of the baby boom cohort, this research gap is problematic.To rectify this omission, this study uses longitudinal data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH; N = 3,853) and assesses whether the family stress model operates differently for three retirement-aged groups of couples (one group that retired before the study, one that retired during the study, and one group of retirement-aged couples that did not retire during the study) and a comparison group of younger couples. The family stress model did not operate for married couples that began the NSFH already retired but did operate for the two other retirement-aged couples. The authors discuss the potential mechanisms behind these findings and the implications for the upcoming retirement of the baby boom cohort.

Original Publication Citation

Dew, J. P., & Yorgason, J. (2010). Economic pressure and marital conflict in retirement-aged couples. Journal of Family Issues, 31, 164–188.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Family Issues




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor