Intergenerational Support and Marital Satisfaction: Implications of Beliefs About Helping Aging Parents

Everyday support given to aging parents is a salient aspect of married life that may have implications for marital quality. Among 132 middle-aged couples drawn from Wave 1 of the Family Exchanges Study, the authors examined the moderating effects of each spouse's normative and motivational beliefs about helping parents on associations between the frequency of everyday support that wives and husbands gave to their own parents and marital satisfaction. Husbands' more frequent provision of support was linked to wives' greater marital satisfaction when reports of personal rewards linked to helping parents were high for wives or low for husbands. Conversely, wives' more frequent provision of support was linked to husbands' lower marital satisfaction when reports of filial obligation were low for husbands or high for wives. Findings highlight the interdependence within couples and indicate that both spouses' perceptions are important in understanding linkages between intergenerational support and marital satisfaction.