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Unformatted text preview: Psychology 137C: Intimate Relationships Relationships in Context Part II Week 8, Lecture 2: REMINDERS: We are working hard on grading the papers, and hope to have them back by the end of next week. That is not a promise. Where we left off... Stress usually makes intimate relationships harder. People who are chronically stressed should find maintaining their relationships especially difficult. So what about underprivileged populations? Marital Disruption and SES Source: Bramlett and Mosher, 2002 Satisfaction by Marital Status and Income
100 95 90 85 80 75 70 65 Married Unmarried Source: Family Formation in Florida, Karney, Garvan, & Thomas, 2003 60 High Middle Low How Does the Environment Constrain LowIncome Couples? Poor couples have less time. Shift work, nonstandard hours. Poor couples have less flexible time. Fewer vacations, less sick leave, no flexible hours. Poor couples have more demands on their time. Sick children, sick relatives. Benjamin Karney, University of Florida Do External Demands put Poor Couples at Risk? When couples lack shared leisure time, divorce risk goes up. Married women who work nights have 3 times greater divorce risk. Married men who work nights have 6 times greater divorce risk. Some Historical Context: U.S. Divorce Rates Over Time Source: National Center for Health Statistics From Welfare Reform to Marriage Promotion Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PROWRA) Expired in 2002 extended 20 times before reauthorization was passed in February, 2006 Final version allocated $150 million of TANF money each year for five years toward demonstrations and research. How to Spend 750 Million Promoting Marriage Advertising campaigns on the value of marriage Education in high schools on marriage values & relationship skills Education programs for non married expectant & recent parents Education & skills training for engaged couples & for couples & individuals interested in marriage Skills training programs for married couples Divorce reduction programs that teach relationship skills Marriage mentoring programs "Programs to reduce the disincentives to marriage in meanstested aid programs, if offered in conjunction with any activity described in this subparagraph." Do Poor People Need Training in Family Values and Relationship Skills? The 2003 Florida Family Formation Survey 2025 minute phone interviews 4500 interviews in FL Stratified, random, representative sample Oversamples of blacks, Hispanics, lowincome and welfare recipients 1500 interviews in CA, NY, and TX Analysis Strategy Four categories based on household income: TANF recipients Lowincome (<200% poverty) Middleincome (from 200% to 400% poverty) Highincome (> 400% poverty) All analyses control for race, gender, age, and relationship status. Attitudes Towards Marriage Two items "A happy healthy marriage is one of the most important things in life." 8.72 8.7 8.68 8.66 8.64 Fvalue = .60 p = .62 No significant differences. 8.62 8.6 TANF LOW MIDDLE HIGH Attitudes Towards Divorce Three items "Divorce can be a reasonable solution to an unhappy marriage." 10.2 10.1 10 9.9 9.8 9.7 9.6 TAN F MIDDLE Fvalue = 7.26 p <.0001 Attitudes Towards Cohabitation Two items "It is okay for couples who are not married to live together." 7.1 7 6.9 6.8 6.7 6.6 6.5 6.4 TAN F MIDDLE Fvalue = 8.71 p <.0001 Attitudes Towards Premarital Sex One item "Couples should wait to have sex until they get married." 3.3 3.2 3.1 3 2.9 2.8 2.7 2.6 2.5 TAN F MIDDLE Fvalue = 43.52 p <.0001 Summary of Attitude Analyses Lowincome groups value marriage as much as middleand highincome groups. Lowincome groups are more traditional in terms of cohabitation, premarital sex, and divorce. The High Standards Argument Could the poor expect too much from marriage? "When people evaluated how satisfied they were with their marriages, they began to think more in terms of development of their own sense of self and expression of their feelings, as opposed to the satisfaction they gained through building a family and playing the roles of spouse and parent" (Cherlin, 2004, p. 852) Interventions aimed at lowincome families emphasize the social functions of marriage. Measuring Standards Do lowincome populations expect more from marriage?
"I am going to list different parts of marriage, and I will ask you to tell me whether you think each item is very important, somewhat important, or not important for a successful marriage." Comparisons control for race and gender. Which Group is Unrealistic? Standards that are LESS important to lower income Standards that are MORE important to lower income Having the same values and beliefs Having good sex Supporting each other through difficult times Understanding each other's hopes and dreams Being able to communicate effectively Being of the same race or ethnic group Husband having a steady job Wife having a steady job Having savings that you can draw from Summary of Analyses of Standards No evidence that lowincome populations demand more intimacy/support/fulfillment from marriage. Lowincome populations are more likely to care about social and financial stability. Do they also experience unique challenges within their own relationships? Measuring Relationship Problems "How much are each of the following topics a source of difficulty between the two of you?" Very serious problem Moderate Problem Barely a problem Not a problem at all Comparisons control for race and gender. The Unique Problems of Low Income Relationships Problems for all relationships Problems more severe in lower income Spending time together Sex Each other's parents Being a parent/having children Communication Household chores Money Drinking/drug use Being faithful Friends Summary of Problem Analyses The problems that are especially severe for lowincome couples may be independent of relationship skills and attitudes. Implications for Policy Should welfare money be diverted towards values education? Strengthening families indirectly The 2008 Norway study Could it happen here? What Else Can We Do About Stress? Pay attention to it! Bolger and the Bar Exam couples. Ironically, stress makes this hard to do. ...
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- Spring '07