Using rich couple data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study, we investigated to what extent there were gender differences in couple dynamics within childless couples (N = 163). Though the childless partners reported similar relationship satisfaction, we found gender differences in the link between relationship conflict and relationship satisfaction - the childless men were more strongly affected by the negative aspects of the partnership. This gender difference was not evident for the association between partner support and relationship satisfaction - the positive aspects of the partnership were equally important for the male and the female childless partners. Furthermore, the association between relationship satisfaction and health was stronger for the childless men than for the childless women and this difference was particularly evident when the levels of relationship satisfaction were low. These results indicate that when they are in unsatisfying romantic relationships, childless men are at a greater risk than childless women of physical and mental ill health.

, , , ,
The present study was supported by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to Renske Keizer (NWO MaGW VENI; grant no. 016.125.054),
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Keizer, R., & Ivanova, K. (2017). What’s a (Childless) Man Without a Woman?. In Childlessness in Europe: Contexts, Causes, and Consequences (pp. 313–330). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-44667-7