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Research Paper

Do we transmit our long-term happiness? Longitudinal evidence of life-satisfaction crossover within marriage

Authors

Publication date

01 Jan 2007

Abstract

There is, as yet, no direct quantitative evidence that crossover of life-satisfaction
exists in married couples. One hypothesis from set-point theories of subjective wellbeing
is that crossover effect of life-satisfaction within-couple may diminish quickly
over time, and hence may not be detected in a longitudinal study with time lag of at
least one year. I tested this idea by examining the dynamics of life-satisfaction
transmission in a 6-year longitudinal study of 4,162 British couples. Results show
that there was a significant and lasting impact of one spouse’s life-satisfaction from
the previous year on change in the other spouse’s life-satisfaction from the previous
year to the current year. There was evidence of reciprocity in the effect for both
husbands and wives, which was not moderated by the between-couple
characteristics. Overall, these results suggest that one spouse’s satisfaction can have
a strong influence on the other spouse’s long-term levels of subjective well-being.

Subjects

Family Formation And Dissolution and Well Being

Links

http://www.powdthavee.co.uk/resources/transmission+of+happiness+18.1.07.pdf

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