Gender differences in response to economic hardship among young couples


Lucas, Amy & Hardie, Jessica Halliday (2010). Gender differences in response to economic hardship among young couples. 2010 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


How do young, cohabiting and married men and women assess relationship quality differently, and how do economic circumstances affect their assessments? Previous research demonstrates that economic difficulties can strain relationship quality for married couples, but little is known about how economic strain differently impacts perceived relationship quality by gender and relationship type. To answer these questions, we estimate random-effects regression models using cohabiting and married couple samples from Add Health. We use five outcome measures of relationship quality: degree of love, satisfaction, assessment of which partner is getting the better deal, degree to which a partner alters his/her behavior to accommodate partner, and degree of violent conflict. Economic variables of interest include earnings, family financial support, government assistance, economic hardship, and educational attainment. We find that economic hardship is a particularly important predictor of conflict for women and men in both cohabiting and marital unions and that the relationship between economic hardship and conflict differs by gender. Married females report committing more acts of violent conflict against their partners in response to economic stress than do their male partners.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2010 Add Health Users Conference


Lucas, Amy
Hardie, Jessica Halliday

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID