Using Netherlands Kinship Panel Study dyadic couple data (n=3,117), the authors investigated associations between partner dissimilarity in the socioeconomic and companionate domains and couples' well-being. They distinguished between 2 well-being indicators-life satisfaction and relationship satisfaction-assuming both indicators to be differentially related to the 2 life domains. They investigated whether Becker's (1973) hypothesis of the "efficiency" gains of household specialization has a sociological pendant in a link between specialization and well-being gains and found that greater socioeconomic dissimilarity was associated with lower life satisfaction for both partners. Although the authors expected dissimilarity in the companionate domain to be associated with lower relationship satisfaction, such an association was found only for family traditionalism: Partners less similar in this respect were less satisfied with their relationship. As assumed, life satisfaction was more strongly associated with dissimilarity in the socioeconomic domain, whereas relationship satisfaction was most affected by the companionate domain.

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Journal of Marriage and Family
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)

Keizer, R, & Komter, A.E. (2015). Are "Equals" Happier Than "Less Equals"? A Couple Analysis of Similarity and Well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(4), 954–967. doi:10.1111/jomf.12194