For the love of money: The role of financially contingent self-worth in romantic relationships

Deborah E. Ward, Lora E. Park, Courtney M. Walsh, Kristin Naragon-Gainey, Elaine Paravati, Ashley V. Whillans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Financial conflicts are among the top reasons for dissatisfaction and dissolution in romantic relationships. Beyond economic strain, however, few studies have examined the psychological antecedents of financial conflicts that contribute to relationship satisfaction. The present research examined whether basing one’s self-esteem on financial success was associated with greater perceived financial conflicts with one’s partner and worse relationship outcomes. A cross-sectional study (N = 167), dyadic study (N = 193 couples), and a 6-week diary study (N = 74 couples) revealed that participants with financially contingent self-worth reported having more financial conflicts with their partner, which was associated with lower relationship satisfaction and perceived partner support. In a final experiment (N = 337), participants who were led to expect many (vs. few) benefits of financial success based their current self-worth more on money, showed greater conflict responses to financial scenarios involving their partner, and reported lower relationship satisfaction and perceived partner support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2021

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